Time to Tune Up Your Furnace
Before temperatures start to drop, schedule an inspection of your home’s heating system.
Just like getting an annual physical or having your car tuned up, your home’s furnace needs regular checkups to ensure its safety, performance and efficiency.
An annual inspection often takes one to two hours and can cost $100 or more—but it can be time and money well spent if your HVAC technician spots a potential problem. During this annual inspection the services can include:
Checking the thermostat. This essential unit tells your furnace when to cycle on and off to achieve the proper air temperature. Your technician tests it to make sure it’s operating correctly, and calibrates it, as needed.
Checking the pilot and burners. The pilot light of older gas furnaces should be steady and blue in color, not yellow or orange and flickering. Service may involve removing soot buildup to ensure proper ignition and combustion, as well as a safety check.
Testing the blower. The blower fan pushes the air over the heat exchanger and out into your home’s ducts. Your technician inspects and services the blower wheel, as well as the heat exchanger.
Inspecting the belt. If your furnace has a fan belt, the technician examines it for cracks and signs of wear, as well as proper tension and alignment, replacing the belt as necessary.
Cleaning the unit. Dust, hair and debris can collect on parts and hinder their performance. Your technician may use a vacuum unit, brushes or cloths to clean the parts.
Changing or cleaning filters. Done to keep air flowing freely through your furnace, this often is part of the service. But it’s also something you can and should do monthly—and save money off the service bill.
Testing for leaks. Carbon monoxide (CO) leaks are deadly results of improperly functioning furnaces. In addition to testing the condition of your furnace’s venting system, your technician scans for the presence of CO. Take the opportunity to test your CO detectors at the same time to make sure they’re operational.
Your service also may include inspecting ductwork, noting leaks, dirt buildup or other potential problems; static air pressure checks; and gas pressure checks.
Read about fixing minor house problems before they turn into major ones.
See your time change checklist.