Furnace Maintenance: Your Tips & Tricks To Perfect Running

There are only a few ways to heat a house in winter, and a centralized furnace is the most inexpensive and effective method. The only other options are a log fireplace or an emergency propane heater, but those do not have the benefit of the ductwork or a fan to circulate warm air to every room in a home. Keep your primary means of home heating efficient with regular maintenance.

Consider the following tips to save energy in winter before resorting to calling an expert for furnace maintenance:

Initiate Maintenance Ahead of Time

A furnace is less likely to fail than an electric system moving refrigerant simply because there are fewer parts to fail. Still, continuous burning of natural gas can sometimes cause problems, and it is good to let an expert take a look at an older system while the weather is nice. Having a system inspected in the off-season is likely to be less expensive for a variety of reasons.

Take a Look Yourself

Even an amateur can tell if great pipes or vents are broken or bent. A visual inspection now and then will give the homeowner a vague idea if anything is out of place. It is also important to look at the drainage system that typically deals with the condensation of refrigeration during summer. This same drainage helps to funnel any moisture that condenses as the result of burning natural gas.

The nose can be as important as the eyes. Pipes carrying gas should be inspected. A small dent might point to a possible rupture, but any significant leak should have a smell. Most natural gas companies include a substance that emits a strong odor so that leaks are easily detected.

Examining And Clearing A Drainage Tube

It is important to relieve the AC unit of any moisture that builds up. In summer, the air conditioner condenses water as it blows warm air over cold coils. In winter, natural gas produces water vapor as well as carbon dioxide as it burns. This water vapor comes in contact with the cold outside walls and condenses. Both sources of moisture have to be drained.

Always inspect the drainage channel by inserting a flexible piece of wire. It should fit in unless the drainage channel has sharp bends. Any solid buildup can be removed with a wire, while slime can also cause a clog. In the case of grimy buildup, kill and dissolve with vinegar or some other mild acid. Find where the water normally drains into the pipe and pour a little vinegar there.

Inspect Any Thermostat Wires

Any inspection of wires should be after the unit is turned off, but basically, open the lid of the HVAC unit and look at the small wires that run to the power switch within the unit. These wires should not be loose and should hold fast when lightly tugged. If they are broke, the owner should note the fact. Any visible damage should be repaired by an expert.

Removing Any Debris

Sometimes, outside solids and dust can make their way into the system. This is bad because it can clog the natural gas vent and result in the incomplete burning of fuel. To prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home, make sure to sweep or vacuum out any loose debris that is inside. Make sure the filter is changed according to schedule, as a clogged filter can break and release particles into the system.

Clean the Flame Sensor If Needed

Most HVAC units have some sensors inside that stop working if they become clouded with dust or soot. After identifying them, cleaning them with a cloth will allow the furnace to work according to its proper settings. Some people unscrew the sensor to clean it. Just be careful if it is fragile.

Ensuring Proper Maintenance

Many homeowners treat their HVAC units as if they do not need maintenance. They are rugged but should be inspected every few years. Natural gas furnaces are largely worry-free since they burn away natural debris, but the fan can be damaged by free particles. Also, corrosion and carbon buildup from burned debris can prevent the complete burning of natural gas.

Always be on the lookout for poor burning such as a furnace that never seems to stop in regular weather or else a smell coming from the furnace. Distress in pets is a good sign since they might be more sensitive to carbon monoxide. Try to follow the maintenance schedule set by the manufacturer, and always replace the filter. They become clogged at the microscopic level and have to be replaced.

There is a lot that homeowners can do, but many repairs can only be performed by a certified technician. Only experts with the right license can work with refrigerants or operate on gas lines. It is the law and a matter of safety. To that end, some professionals are more efficient than others, so pick one with a lot of experience and a good reputation.

Tips For Troubleshooting Your Furnace

Regular furnace maintenance is key when it comes to ensuring a trouble-free and effective heating system, and there are several steps that every homeowner should take to keep their heating system functioning as it should. Regardless of the type of furnace you have, troubleshooting is easy and more effective when you follow these tips.

The thermostat, distribution system or source of heat or cold are the three main areas that are most likely to cause your heating or cooling system to malfunction. It may be as simple as a loss of power if your system isn’t working at all. If your system uses oil or gas, it may not be igniting or reaching the unit. The distribution system or blower may be the problem if warm air isn’t getting into your home, even though the system turns on. The unit may not turn on at all or may turn on or off repeatedly if the thermostat or control is causing the problem. Common sense, patience, and looking at the simplest things first can often help you to identify the problem and can save time and frustration.

Take these precautions before working on your cooling or heating system:

Examine the main entrance panel for any tripped circuit breaker or blown a fuse, to ensure power is reaching your unit. Some furnaces may have a separate power entrance, often located somewhere close to the entrance panel.

Press your unit’s RESET button if it has one, after allowing the unit to cool down for at least 30 minutes. Repeat this procedure after another 30 minutes if your system still doesn’t start.

Make sure that any separate power switch is turned on.

Your thermostat should be set properly; raise the temperature 5 degrees if necessary.

Make sure you have plenty of oil if your furnace uses oil; if it operates on gas, the pilot light should be lit, and the supply of gas turned on.

Don’t forget these important safety tips:

The unit’s power should be turned off before you do any work or examine it closely. The fuse that controls the power should be removed, or the circuit breaker should be tripped. To be safe, trip your home’s main circuit breaker or remove the main fuse if you aren’t sure which circuit your system is on. Trip the breaker or remove the fuse on your furnace’s separate power entrance; if it has one, it should be near to the main entrance panel.

The electrical system is probably the problem, and you’ll need a professional technician if you notice that the circuit trips repeatedly or the fuse keeps blowing after your unit is turned on.

Don’t turn lights on or off or turn off the gas if your unit operates on gas and you can smell gas in your home. You and your family should immediately leave the house and then contact the fire department or gas company. Leave the door open when you leave your house.

Regular furnace maintenance, at least once a year, is essential if you want to keep your unit running as it should and to avoid any serious or costly problems. You can often get faster service and take advantage of discounts when you have your furnace serviced in the offseason, just after the heating season. It’s a good idea to get your Allen Park HVAC system serviced at the same time.

The most complex part of any heating and cooling system is the actual heat and cold source, and regularly inspecting this is important; many homeowners tend to neglect it. Having it inspected regularly can help to prevent problems, including those that arise from the distribution system.

Your system won’t run as efficiently, and you can find yourself wasting a lot of fuel if your furnace is too dirty. In fact, with many systems, dirt is one of the biggest factors that affects their overall performance. Regular maintenance of your heating and cooling system should include a thorough cleaning, as all the three basic parts of your system can be affected by dirt. Important steps to take when it comes to furnace maintenance are adjusting the belt as and when required, and making sure your system is well lubricated.