September 15, 2014
It’s Furnace Maintenance Time in Denver!
Winter is just around the corner. Are you ready for chilly Colorado nights? Your furnace should be checked annually, especially just before colder weather comes. Without preventative Denver furnace maintenance, problems may arise, such as: no heat or even carbon monoxide. An average of 150 people die annually due to carbon monoxide poisoning from consumer products in the US, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric has tips to ensure your furnace is working properly and safely this winter.
Applewood performs a 14-point, comprehensive furnace inspection for their customers. While we recommend a certified technician give you the most advanced and thorough inspection, there are items you can assess and maintain to ensure your heating system is performing at its best. As a reminder, be sure to turn off any power to your furnace to protect from any danger during a review of your system.
- The first step is to replace any dirty or old air filters to maintain efficiency of your furnace. If the air filters are dirty, the furnace must work harder to produce heat; which can lead to an unsafe situation. Applewood recommends changing these at least every other month.
- Performing a thermocouple check is also important to ensure your furnace is working efficiently. This is a safety device to ensure gas is shut off in case the pilot light goes out. While you may be able to do this on your own, we suggest a certified technician perform the check as they are trained and have the appropriate tools to accurately read its performance.
- You need to make sure that your fan limit switch is working properly. The switch should turn off your burner when the appropriate temperature is reached. The fan will operate until this threshold is reached and acts as a safety feature as well as for efficiency, by ensuring your furnace isn’t running constantly.
- The pilot light is one of the most obvious indicators of potential problems. Be sure the pilot light is lit and the flame is consistent. If it fails to light or lacks a good flame you may need to clean this area.
- Burner controls can also reveal furnace issues. Clues such as noises, odors and even soot around the boiler or furnace area could be indications of a problem. Technicians can measure stack temperature, smoke level and CO levels to ensure your home is safe.
- Most modern furnaces use safety controls such as limit and rollout switches. These controls stop functioning of the system to alert you of unsafe conditions. It may be from excessive heat or an unlit pilot light, for example.
- The blower motor is located inside your furnace. You may be able to tell if the blower is operating, but not at peak performance. This is where a technician can assist in evaluating your system. There may be a number of reasons why your blower isn’t working properly, from dirty filters to damaged wires.
- It is imperative to check for gas leaks. The most obvious way to detect a leak is through your nose – natural gas has a rotten egg-like smell. If you detect this at any level, leave the home immediately and call your service provider or the fire department.
- Furnaces need air to operate properly. There should be a designated place that brings fresh outdoor air into the furnace area. These openings need to be checked regularly along with the combustion chamber. This is where heat is conducted and soot, water vapor and carbon dioxide can gather. If there is too much buildup in the chamber, the walls can erode.
- Be sure to check the flue pipe for any holes, especially closer to the furnace. Holes can cause carbon monoxide to leak, leaving you and your family in danger.
- Furnaces have metal tanks that vary in size to absorb pressure from the warm up of a heating system. Newer systems are less likely to fail. It is still important to check for possible leaks at the tank valve or for waterlogging, which may require draining.
- Don’t forget to check where your heat reaches the room, your registers. Likewise, checking zone valves can make sure heat is being distributed throughout your home correctly and evenly.
- We often take our thermostats for granted. It’s good to annually put a thermostat to test to confirm it is operating correctly. This can be done by adjusting the temperature high or low to trip your furnace into action or shut it down, depending on the temperature. If you have zone systems, make sure batteries are fresh and working.
- Inspecting furnace heat exchangers may be a tricky task. The goal is to see if there are any cracks or leaks. Because of its nearly hidden, location there are many areas of the exchanger that you likely cannot see while in the furnace. If you do find a crack or break, contact a service technician for repair. A trained service technician can thoroughly inspect your heat exchanger with proper tools.
Finally, clean all air ducts and vacuum floors – all dirt and dust can pose a threat to your furnace if it causes air ducts to clog. Efficiency and air quality can be reduced, which can cause you to operate your furnace at a higher level than necessary.
There’s nothing better than being warm on a cold night. Don’t wait till the last minute. Now is the time to take care of annual heating system maintenance to ensure you and your family are cozy every night in your home. Call Applewood, your furnace maintenance experts!