Q: What does a furnace maintenance check-up consist of?
A: Perform the following steps:
Inspect thermostat for proper operation.
Inspect filter and change or clean as needed.
Check all electrical components and controls.
Oil motors as needed.
Inspect heat exchanger for possible cracks. A crack in the heat exchanger will introduce carbon monoxide into the living space.
Check air flow. If diminished, it may be necessary to clean the evaporator coil.
Check air fuel mixture, where appropriate.
Q: Is there anything a homeowner can do to assure proper operation and safety of their furnace?
A: Yes. The first thing to check before turning on your unit is to make sure nothing flammable has been stored next to the furnace over the summer (we frequently find lawn mowers, gas cans, etc. stacked against the furnace in the garage!) Use the following as a guide:
Run your heater for a few minutes now, before you need it. If you wait until the first cold morning to discover is isn’t working, you’ll find yourself on a waiting list before a heating and air specialist can come to fix it.
Change the filters regularly. Dirty filters restrict air flow, reducing efficiency and worse case, can cause the heat exchanger to overheat. Disposable fiberglass filters should be replaced. Electrostatic or electronic filters need to be washed regularly.
Be sure all access panels are secure, with all the screws in place.
Be sure the thermostat is set in the heating mode. Just setting the dial above room temperature will not activate the heat if it is still set in the air conditioning mode.
Q: The home we just purchased has a heat pump and it doesn’t seem to warm up as quickly as our previous house which had a gas furnace.
A: A heat pump is simply an air conditioner with the ability to reverse the flow of refrigerant (freon), and gas furnaces are simply more efficient than air conditioners. If your thermostat is set at 70-degrees, your heat pump will discharge air at approximately 20-degrees above thermostat setting while a gas furnace produces approximately 40-degrees hotter air, naturally warming the area much faster.