Annual Furnace Maintenance Checklist
Just as you schedule regular tune-ups for your car, your furnace needs similar attention. While there are a couple things that you can do on your own, like change the filters, it’s best to leave the annual maintenance to an expert in furnace repair. Portland residents benefit the most when the maintenance occurs in the fall, so the technician can catch any problems before the frigid weather arrives.
Furnace Maintenance Tasks
To prevent the need for future furnace repair, Portland HVAC contractors do the following while performing maintenance services:
- Clean and adjust (if necessary) the pilot light and assembly. Dirty pilot lights or those that are weak can extinguish the light and cause the furnace to shut down.
- Inspect the gas lines for leaks and the correct gas and manifold pressure.
- Look for lint and other debris in the combustion blower.
- Inspect and clean the ignition system and safety control to ensure they function properly.
- Inspect the control box and controls for the correct connections and wiring.
- Remove, clean (if necessary) and adjust the burners and burner assembly. Dirty burners may lead to poor combustion and can shorten the life of the unit.
- Listen for strange or abnormal noises, which may indicate a problem with the furnace.
- Inspect the heat exchanger and the furnace’s heating elements for cracks and deterioration, which naturally occurs with age.
- Clean and adjust the fan switch so it cycles properly and conserves energy.
- Inspect the flue pipe for corrosion or leaks, proper attachment, signs of corrosion and dislocated sections. If necessary, the technician may recommend a replacement.
- Inspect the combustion air openings to make sure they are not restricted or blocked.
- Record data about the furnace’s performance and temperatures
- Secure loose panels.
- Inspect and adjust belts and pulleys to ensure optimal airflow and efficiency. If there are any cracked belts, the technician will recommend replacing them.
- Lubricate the motors and bearings to reduce friction and keep the furnace running at optimal levels.
- Replace the air filter and, if requested, teach you how to replace it. Some furnace manufacturers recommend replacing the filter once a month, especially during the heating season.
- Examine and record the voltage and amperage (amps) of the compressor, condenser fan motors and blower motor.
- Inspect and calibrate the thermostat to ensure that it’s at the correct settings and temperatures. If you have a programmable thermostat, the HVAC technician may show you how to operate it upon request so the furnace doesn’t keep your home as warm when you’re not there.
- Check the vents to ensure they work.
After the Inspection
When the technician finishes the inspection, they’ll provide you with a system operation report along with repairs and replacements that are recommended. While the recommendations may seem like frivolous expenses, keep in mind that they may extend the life of your furnace and prevent costly future repairs. If you’re not sure about the need to follow through with the recommendations, never hesitate to get a second opinion from another professional.
Keep in mind that it may be best to leave the maintenance, repairs and replacements to a certified HVAC contractor, especially if your furnace is under warranty. Refer to the appliance’s warranty contract to learn about the details regarding the parts to use, professional services and do-it-yourself tasks so you don’t accidentally void it.
The most important benefit that annual furnace maintenance provides is safety. Improper oil or gas connections pose a fire hazard, and gas leaks can be fatal. When a furnace has dirty, worn or misaligned components, the appliance may need more repairs in the future and it may not run as efficiently, making it cost more to heat your home. Annual furnace maintenance will also extend the life of heating system. If there is a suspected need for furnace repair, Portland residents should schedule maintenance services immediately or risk a breakdown during the cold winter season.
Photo by Chris Potter via CC license.