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I know it’s still hot outside, but winter is just around the corner. I am often asked “Why should I get my furnace checked?” or “Do I really need to have my furnace checked? “The answer is yes, especially if you have gas heat.
One of the main reasons is that it is the best way to insure trouble free operation and avoid problems when you need your furnace the most. Also, because most systems use natural gas there is a possibility of fire or release of carbon monoxide into your conditioned space.
There are built in safeties in place to prevent this, but is important to check them for operation. The gas burners on a furnace shoot flames through tubes. These tubes are called heat exchangers. If there are any cracks or abnormalities in the heat exchanger, the burned gases (carbon monoxide) can mix with your indoor air. Also, if the evaporator coil or blower is dirty, heat buildup in the heat exchanger could cause premature cracking.
In older furnaces, rust and dirt can build up on the burners causing pockets of gas. This creates hot spots on the heat exchanger. An inspection of your heating system can help to prevent these problems. Below are some of the items on the pre-season checklist.
- Inspect and clean blower assembly (includes blower housing, blower wheel and motor)
- On older models, lubricate motor and inspect and replace fan belt if needed
- Check combustion blower housing for lint and debris and clean as necessary
- Inspect evaporator coil, drain pan and condensate drain lines. Clean as needed
- Inspect for gas leaks in gas furnaces
- Inspect burner assembly—clean and adjust as needed
- Inspect ignition system and safety controls—clean and adjust as needed
- Inspect heat exchanger or heating elements
- Inspect flue system—check for proper attachment to the furnace, any dislocated sections, and for signs of corrosion. Replace if necessary
- Inspect control box, associated controls, wiring and connections
- Clean or replace air filters
- Inspect conditioned airflow system (ductwork)—check for leaks