If you have forced-air heat in your home, chances are that your furnace could use a check-up. It may cost a few dollars but will pay for itself in the long-haul. Many HVAC companies now offer a subscription-like plan in which a yearly fee gets you an inspection and preferential treatment should a problem occur on a miserably cold night.
Whether it’s gas or electric, there’s a blower motor and a fan. Older units can have motors and fans that need a drop of oil on a regular basis. Newer units usually have sealed bearings that can seemingly run indefinitely with no maintenance. In either case, however, there’s a fan. The furnace fans move a lot of air. In doing so, even when the filters are changed regularly, they collect dirt. Over the years, the extra weight from collected dust will put a strain on the fan and its motor, leading to an early demise. These fans aren’t always easy to get to but should be cleaned every few years to avoid excess wear on the unit.
Likewise, households with furnaces and air conditioning will mostly likely have an A-coil inside the furnace housing. The A-coil looks similar to a car’s radiator, so it’s easy for dirt and debris to collect on it as well. I have seen A-coils so clogged that air could not pass through it, greatly reducing the unit’s ability to heat or cool. So, these should be cleaned and inspected as well.
Whether it’s electric, gas, or oil, all furnaces now have circuit boards and many electrical connections that can develop cracks or loosened connections from vibration. A technician can place modern units into a test mode which runs a check on the circuitry.
And finally, natural gas or oil furnaces can develop cracks in their combustion chamber or heat exchanger, leading to the release of carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless, lethal gas. If you have a furnace burning fossil fuels in your home, you should have a carbon monoxide tester in close proximity to alert you of escaping fumes. A technician will be able to quickly assess if any of these conditions exist in your furnace.
If it’s been a few years since your furnace had a good cleaning, I suggest getting it done. Taking this step will help it run more efficiently and prolong its service life.
My next post considers what to do when things are heating up (but shouldn’t). To have a well-maintained home takes some planning and good habits. Look for more tip for home maintenance at www.StepsForToday.com.
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And remember to take the next step…
PS: I’d love to hear any cost-saving or home maintenance tips you may have as well.