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Furnace Maintenance Guide — Everything You Need to Know

Furnace maintenance is essentially a preventive heating service that involves the complete inspection of your unit and tuning it up if needed.

Since most people just turn to HVAC services when there’s something wrong, you might find yourself wondering if you really need furnace maintenance.

The truth is, furnace maintenance is essential every once in a while, even if everything is working fine. This is because it not only prolongs the life of your system but it also helps you to save money and stay comfortable throughout Canada’s cold season. Also most manufacturers require a once a year check on your system for warranty purposes.

If you’ve just started looking into furnace maintenance and have a lot of questions about it, this guide can help you out.

What is Included in Furnace Maintenance?

Thorough furnace maintenance, such as the one provided by Bird Fuels, involves checking all the system’s essential components and lubricating, testing, cleaning, or adjusting them, depending on what they demand.

Typically, a furnace maintenance checklist involves the following:

  • Checking air intake grilles and the vent system for blockages and removing them, if any
  • Looking for signs of corrosion or damage on the heat exchanger.
  • Inspecting the blower and cleaning it to get rid of debris
  • Examining the blower motor and testing the amp draw
  • Checking electrical components and tightening them
  • Replacing damaged wiring
  • Inspecting the flame sensor and burner
  • Checking the belt for cracks or other signs of damage
  • Examining and calibrating the thermostat
  • Lubricating the moving parts of the heating system
  • Checking and cleaning the air filter and replacing it
  • Testing out the start-up cycle and the safety controls of the system.

In case you have a gas or oil furnace, additional maintenance tasks might be included, such as:

  • Inspecting fuel lines for leaks
  • Checking the pilot and burner
  • Testing gas pressure and thermocouple.

The Three Most Common Furnace Problems

If not maintained regularly, a furnace can develop many issues, some of them being more common than the others. It’s important to know these so that you can schedule the maintenance at the right time.

Common furnace problems include:

1. Leaks

Your HVAC systems — including your furnace — come with drain and connector lines that can develop leaks. As a result, the system is forced to run harder than it should, which can damage the components. For instance, certain kinds of furnaces develop condensation leaks, and water starts to pool around the base.

2. Corrosion

Where there are moisture and wiring, there is bound to be corrosion, too. Corrosion on any terminals, components, or wires of the furnace can cause the furnace to turn on and off on its own or not heat your house properly at all. Just like leaks, corrosion can also cause your system to function harder, which may cause a breakdown with time.

3. Debris and Dirt

To be able to work efficiently, all the components of the furnace must be debris-free. Apart from affecting the system’s efficiency, components like dirty filters will cause allergens and dust to enter your house. As a result, it will reduce the air quality inside the home and possibly clog the system.

The Three Signs You Need Furnace Maintenance

If you want to ensure that your furnace always works in peak conditions, you must call in for maintenance when you notice the following issues:

1. A Recent Move into a New Home

An inspector came and checked out the property before you moved into it. However they are not usually licensed technicians and it is possible that they didn’t pay a lot of attention to the furnace.

So, whenever you move into a new place, make sure that you call for furnace maintenance services. You don’t know how the furnace was treated in the hands of the previous occupants, and you don’t want to have a furnace full of debris and dirt.

In fact, it is even better if you can get someone to come and clean the furnace before you move in.

2. Airflow is Not What You Expected

In some cases, you might find that some areas within your house don’t heat fast enough, or they don’t maintain the warmth. Similarly, the airflow might feel uneven in some places.

Sometimes, such problems are due to insulation or some other problems that are not directly related to the furnace. However, the problem usually lies within the furnace. For instance, an issue with the airflow and heating could be solved with just routine cleaning, so you know it is time to call for maintenance.

3. Water in the Ducts

You decided to replace the filters around your house, but you noticed that some of them are slightly damp. Then when you look inside those ducts, you find that they have drops of water on them.

Whatever the kind of heating system, moisture is never a good sign. Once you notice water either in the filters or in other areas of the duct, make that call for maintenance services.

Make that call as soon as possible because the water in the ducts can lead to mould growth. In turn, this can lead to various health problems, thereby bringing down the quality of air in your home.

How Often is Furnace Maintenance Necessary?

Once a Year, Minimum

Yearly maintenance can ensure that your system continues to run efficiently. In fact, if you really want to maintain optimal air quality indoors or if someone in your house has a compromised immune system or other respiratory issues, then it’s necessary to have maintenance done at least twice a year.

Before Winter

The best time to get your furnace maintained is before using the furnace daily as the temperature starts to drop. Depending on the area you live in, this could be just at the end of summer and before fall starts.

Getting your furnace maintained before winter’s really kicked in can ensure your system is ready to serve you and keep you comfortable throughout the cold season.

Benefits of Regular Furnace Maintenance

With regular maintenance, you can expect a plethora of benefits. Some of these include the following:

Helps to Save Money

As mentioned earlier, regular furnace maintenance keeps your unit running efficiently. This is because when your unit works at peak efficiency, it doesn’t need to work hard to produce a sufficient amount of heat. This translates to good monthly savings in the energy bill. In a short time, these savings can easily cover the money needed for regular maintenance.

Not to forget, maintenance lowers the chance of expensive replacement down the road.

Keeps the Unit’s Warranty Valid

Most furnace warranties include terms that demand regular maintenance. If the same is the case with your unit, you need regular maintenance to keep the warranty valid and ensure you have the coverage needed in case something goes wrong within the warranty period.

Reduces the Chance of Unexpected Breakdowns

Regular furnace maintenance helps to identify minor issues and address them before they become big problems. In other words, this means less need for heating repairs, reduced system failures, and low chances of being left without heat in the winter.

Letting a professional check your furnace at least once a year means that they can find parts that are just starting to wear out and replace them. Similarly, they can lubricate the parts and double-check the wiring to ensure everything is in order.

A professional knows when things are good for one more year, and when components are a concern. So, having your furnace maintained gives you great peace of mind, knowing that you will stay warm in the winter months.

Extending the Furnace’s Life

Purchasing a new furnace is quite a hefty investment, which is why you would want it to last for as many years as possible. If you keep your furnace well-maintained, it can last you a long time — even well over a decade. That means you’ll be able to make the most of your heating system investment.

Maintain Efficiency

Some parts of the furnace tend to wear down faster than others, especially if your system is used extensively like you would have to in the cold Canadian winters. One example of such components is the filter. The filter pulls air inside to heat it and then pushes it out across the whole house. With constant, heavy use, it can get clogged. In turn, the furnace has to work twice as hard to keep the house warm, decreasing the unit’s efficiency.

Keeps Your Household Safe

Furnaces are made such that they release carbon monoxide in the exhaust. Carbon monoxide is poisonous and must be properly vented out via the exhaust pipe outside the house. When you call for furnace maintenance, professionals will check for leaks in the exhaust to make sure that all the gas leaves the house and your family isn’t exposed to it.

Call for Furnace Maintenance Today

With winter fully settling in, it is high time to call for furnace maintenance to make sure that you make it through the cold months without your furnace breaking down on you. Experts at can thoroughly inspect your furnace to make sure everything is in order. Schedule an appointment with us today and ensure you’re kept warm for many years to come.

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