Most people don’t think about their heating system until it stops working. Often by then, however, the problem is much costlier and more disruptive than it would have been if caught earlier. Scheduling regular maintenance is the best way to prevent those emergency calls for repairs, and to ensure that your furnace operates consistently and efficiently throughout the season.
Your HVAC professional can identify and correct a number of issues before they become serious. Here are three of the most common problem areas that regular maintenance can avoid:
1. The fan
Your heating system keeps your home warm by circulating the heated air throughout your home. As such, it is a key part of your HVAC system, and has several components that require attention.
- Ball bearings can cause friction in the fan leading to excessive wear and tear. Keeping them lubricated will prevent damage.
- Fan blades can become loose or bent and should be adjusted at the start of the season.
- Motor mounts can come loose. If left unchecked, the blower motor can drop into the shaft, causing damage to the motor.
- Fan belts wear out and should be replaced before they fray excessively or break.
- Fan motor issues and electrical issues, including damaged wiring, affect performance, efficiency and safety. Regular inspections allow your HVAC professional to catch and correct problems quickly.
2. The burner
Dust and dirt covering the burner components can prevent the burners from lighting and can also lead to excessive wear and tear. Regular professional cleaning and maintenance are necessary to insure that the burners will light and stay lit. This is a safety concern as well as a practical one.
3. The ignition
Most furnaces use an electronic ignition. Over time, dirt and grime build up and eventually affect performance. If your system has an intermittent pilot, the fuel nozzle can clog and prevent the gas from flowing. If it has a hot surface igniter, the dirt that collects interferes with its ability to become hot enough to light the gas jet. Gas that builds up due to lack of ignition can cause small explosions that will eventually crack the heat exchanger. Another risk is the release of carbon monoxide into your home. Your HVAC technician will clean and service the igniter components to keep them in good working order to prevent malfunctions or unsafe conditions.
Regular professional maintenance saves money and headaches by keeping your furnace working at peak efficiency, preventing costly repairs and extending its useful life.