Why is servicing your furnace important?

Published On: Nov 09 2011 11:39:55 AM EST
Updated On: Apr 15 2013 12:04:24 PM EDT
replacing furnace filter

iStock / JaniceRichard

By Deborah Percy, Contributing writer

Furnace manufacturers usually recommend an annual service but this is one expense that a cash-strapped home owner might be tempted to put off until tomorrow. There are good reasons, however, to have your furnace serviced -- safety and efficiency. In addition, regular servicing by a HVAC engineer could reduce repair bills and extend the life of the appliance.

Safety: Oil and gas furnaces burn fossil fuel which can produce deadly carbon monoxide (CO). The HVAC engineer will ensure that there is no risk of CO poisoning. Obviously, where there is flammable fuel involved there is also the potential for fire, this risk will be assessed and problems tackled.

Efficiency: The fuel bills for running a furnace are tremendous, so it is comforting to know that the furnace will work more efficiently when it is professionally tuned. This means using less fuel and costing less money to run, the service could pay for itself.

Reducing repair bills: Sometimes things go wrong because the furnace is not working well due to the build up of dirt or because of other failing parts. Keeping things running in tip-top condition will put less strain on the various components of the furnace.

The servicing of any gas appliance (including oil furnaces) is similar to that of a car. The vehicle must be working, a service is not a repair. It is a tune up and in the process, worn out, old parts might be identified and replaced before things come to a standstill.

At the very least the service of a furnace will involve the following checks:

1. The over all condition of the furnace

2. Whether it is installed correctly and working properly

3. If it is working safely

4. Test for leaks

5. Test the gas pressure

6. Test emissions to find out whether carbon monoxide is being produced

7. Check valves and pumps

8. Check that the flue gases are able to escape via the chimney or vent.

In addition, some furnaces will involve far more cleaning than others, especially older models and oil furnaces.

The benefits of having a furnace serviced by a professional HVAC engineer are overwhelming: saving money on your annual fuel bill, prolonging the life of your furnace, reducing the chance of an unfortunate breakdown on the coldest day, ensuring your heating system is safe. It is best to have this done as winter is approaching.

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