What do HVAC technicians actually do to the furnace to “tune” it up?
A few services you may have heard of are “safety check”, “certification”, “check-up”, “tune-up”, “basic tune-up”, “complete tune-up”, “precision tune-up” and “annual maintenance check-up.”
The services provided by different heating contractors will vary, depending on who you call and what you pay. For example, I recently inspected a gas furnace in Ottawa that had a had a small gas leak, leaking carbon monoxide in to the home. Just a couple months prior to this, a heating contractor had come out to repair the furnace and later given it a clean bill of health. If the customer hadn’t done the inspection, they would not have found out about the leak.
Included below is a partial list of generic stuff that different furnace manufacturers recommend be performed annually a qualified heating technician:
- The vent system needs to be checked for blockage and/or leakage. This includes the outside termination and the connections at and internal to the furnace.
- Combustion gases must be analyzed and compared to the unit specifications.
- The blower access door needs to be checked to make sure it makes a tight seal at the furnace.
- The fresh air intake grills and louvers need to be checked for blockage.
- The heat exchanger needs to be inspected for rust and corrosion.
- The burners need to be checked for proper ignition, burner flame, and flame sense.
- The drainage system needs to be checked for blockage and/or leakage. This includes the hoses internal to the furnace. The condensate drain and trap need to be cleaned, and the water replaced in the trap.
- The blower wheel needs to be checked for debris and cleaned if necessary – this requires complete removal of the blower wheel.
- An amp-draw test should be conducted on the blower motor and compared with what is listed.
- The wiring needs to be checked for corrosion and damage.
- The filters need to be checked (but this needs to be done much more frequently than annually).
Couldn’t I, as a homeowner, do the furnace inspection myself?
Some homeowners might have difficult time trusting an HVAC contractor to perform the furnace tune-up. Never take things in your hand that you are not trained to do so. Specially with gas consuming products, you need to be a professionally trained technician in the field to perform any type of inspection. What you can do as a homeowner is to check the individual’s credentials and the company ratings when you are hiring a furnace contractor to do your furnace maintenance.
Is there any benefits to sign up for a furnace protection plan?
Who doesn’t want to do everything they can to make sure their furnace doesn’t conk out mid-winter? These plans generally provide an annual tune-up and diagnostic check, make sure your furnace is running properly and help spot potential problems. The big advantage is customers pay in installments. Plus some plans offer labor coverage on top of annual tune-up. If you’re getting annual maintenance on your furnace these plans are usually cheaper. Sign up today for a furnace protection plan.