Seasonal furnace maintenance is the most important step you can take toward maximizing the life of your heating system and lowering the total cost of ownership. In fact, most furnace warranties require maintenance by a licensed HVAC technician less the coverage be voided. The good news is that a furnace tune-up is relatively inexpensive within the grand scheme of home upkeep, and many heating companies offer maintenance plans that can help you lower your costs even more. With all of this in mind, let us explore what you can expect when you schedule a furnace maintenance appointment with All Pro Air.
Your heating technician will perform a comprehensive inspection of your furnace unit and all ancillary equipment. This includes a visual inspection but also a point-by-point inspection, and if you request it, most HVAC companies will provide you a sheet that breaks down what their multipoint inspection entails. It is also worth noting that the inspection is not necessarily separate from the cleaning, tune-up, and lubrication, but we break it down this way to give you an idea of where the emphases are. The focal points of the inspection are to ensure that equipment is operating within optimal ranges and to identify any wear and tear that needs to be corrected along with any more serious damage to the system.
Furnaces get dirty and need to be cleaned. Consider that when your HVAC technician arrives for a furnace tune-up in early fall, your furnace has been run during the previous autumn and winter. It has also sat idle during the previous spring and summer. That means that there is a lot of dust on various aspects of the equipment, and there can be other accumulation on various parts as well. Your technician will vacuum dust and the like and used specialized cleaners to remove more stubborn grime.
Tune-up is a broad term borrowed from the automotive world. There are moving parts in a furnace. There are also vibrations. Your technicians will check all fittings and tighten them as necessary. Electrical connections need to be checked and tightened as well. Fittings, bearings, wires and so forth may need to be replaced if there are signs of wear. Belts are a focal point during this process as well. They often need to be tightened and otherwise adjusted and may need to be replaced if too worn. This is also the phase during which the tech will test pressure, amperage and so forth to ensure optimal ranges.
All the moving parts in a furnace system receive some form of lubricant oil. This lubricant reduces friction, which thus reduces vibration, heat and wear and tear. Some parts are lubricated directly. In other cases, there are lubricant ports that are used to fill reservoirs. These reservoirs allow the system to provide more lubrication to those components over time. Lubrication is a simple thing but also essential to maximizing furnace lifespan and avoiding more serious repairs down the line.
The most important aspect of your furnace unit is the heat exchanger. This is also the most expensive component of the system, and should it need to be replaced, it is often advisable to replace the entire unit instead. Your technician will use a specialized chemical to remove scaling from the heat exchanger. During this process, he or she will also look for signs of corrosion or any cracks.
Electric vs. Gas or Oil
An electric furnace has a control board that needs to be cleaned, inspected, and tested. A tune-up for a furnace that burns natural gas or heating oil is a bit more involved. The fuel line must be examined for potential leaks. The technician will have to clean and test the burner along with the pilot and thermocouple. It is also necessary to ensure that the gas pressure is appropriate for the system.
Your maintenance technician will also inspect the ventilation system as it pertains to the furnace. This includes the air handler, which has belts, bearings, and other moving parts. The technician will also check that all registers and vents are clean and in working order. If any HVAC filters need replacement or cleaning, that will usually be done as well. Note that ductwork inspection and cleaning can be scheduled at this time as well but is not included because it does not have to be done as often.
During the tune-up, the technician will remove the face of the thermostat to clean behind it and test the connections. He or she will then test it to ensure that the device is in working order. Sometimes, the calibration will be out of whack, in which case the technician will recalibrate it.
Furnace maintenance will also include checking the condensate line. The technician will ensure that the line is properly oriented and that there is no obstruction. If there is an obstruction, then the maintenance will include clearing the line so that condensation can leave the home freely.
Starting the System
After everything has been cleaned, inspected, lubricated, tested, and double-checked, it is time to start up the system. While the system is running, your technician may go back to the furnace and air handler to ensure that everything looks, sounds, and smells in order. The technician will then check the airflow from the vents in the various sections of the home to ensure that the air pressure is correct. He will ensure that the temperature of the air from the vents is also the correct temperature as set on the thermostat.
Carbon Monoxide Levels
If you have a furnace that uses natural gas or heating oil, there is the potential for carbon monoxide levels. Your technician will test these levels. The technician will also examine your carbon monoxide detectors to ensure that the devices are working and calibrated and that they are positioned appropriately throughout the home.
When the furnace maintenance has been completed, the technician will provide you with signed and stamped paperwork. This paperwork details all the work that has been performed on the system, and this is the documentation that you want to keep with your records. Should you ever need to make an HVAC warranty claim, you may need this documentation as proof.
Your technician will also take the time to explain all that he or she has done. The technician will discuss the wear and tear corrected and what you may have to watch for in the future. This is also an excellent opportunity for you to ask any questions about the maintenance or your heating system in general.
Your Furnace Maintenance Pros in Riverside
All Pro Air has served Riverside and the neighboring communities since 2010. That means that we have more than a decade of experience keeping local furnaces and other heating equipment running well. We perform tune-ups for both heating and cooling systems and offer maintenance plans. We offer two levels of maintenance plans that will provide additional cost savings and benefits. You can also count on us to install and repair both ducted and ductless cooling and heating systems. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call us, or contact us online today.