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When Should I Have My Furnace Inspected?

Annual furnace inspections will help prolong the life of an HVAC system and help an individual save money on their monthly energy costs. Before cold weather moves in, most experts recommend having a professional HVAC service technician service the furnace. This will help to keep the system in good running order and prevent it from failing when it is needed the most.

Professionals state that investing in yearly furnace service and inspections will prolong the life of the system while saving energy and reducing health risks. Most manufacturers agree on this – investing in furnace service once per year is best. Having the system tuned up and fully inspected is highly recommended. Similar to a car, if the unit is ignored, many other things are going to break. With these inspections, it is possible to extend the system’s life and reduce the likelihood of serious breakdowns.

Benefits Offered by Professional Furnace Inspections

Some HVAC professionals claim that up to 75% of all calls for no-heat issues during the winter are directly related to no maintenance. When heater service is not called for, the units may stop working suddenly, leaving everyone in the house cold and uncomfortable.

Units that are not serviced may also present a health hazard. According to technicians, furnace inspections can uncover carbon monoxide leaks, which are difficult to detect because this gas is odorless and colorless. If a carbon monoxide leak is present, it can cause several symptoms, including nausea, headaches, dizziness, and in some cases, even death. It is estimated that more than 500 people die per year, and 15K people are taken to the ER due to carbon monoxide exposure.

Failure to maintain the furnace, regardless of if it is electric or gas, can result in it running less efficiently, which makes it work even harder, increasing monthly energy costs.

What Factors Impact the Cost of a Furnace Inspection?

If a homeowner contacts a professional service to provide a furnace inspection only, they may only have to pay a low trip charge or a service fee. Some service providers will add the amount to a person’s bill if they have work done. If the inspection includes a tune-up for the furnace, which is sometimes called a furnace cleaning, it will usually cost under $100, but this varies from one company to another.

A professional technician will inspect several things during the turn-up. The team will clean the heating system to help the homeowner save money and improve the efficiency of the system. They will check all the controls for safety, which provides peace of mind for the entire season. For each tune-up, the company will help ensure the heating system is operating at peak performance to ensure comfort.

Some of the more specific checks and inspections are done during the inspection are highlighted here.

Proper Voltage

There are three basic types of thermostat systems used today. These include the line voltage, low voltage, and millivoltage. A technician will check to ensure the voltage is moving through the system properly.

Blower Assembly

If the blower wheels are dirty, it can reduce the total airflow. This can result in longer operating time and increased energy costs. A house that feels colder and total compressor failure is going to let a homeowner know if they are dealing with blower issues.

Condenser Coil Inspection

If the condenser coils get dirty, the refrigerant pressure is going to increase to higher than needed levels. A homeowner’s electric bill will start to increase, too. The technician hires will clean the coils to help ensure the equipment is running at higher levels of efficiency, which will help a homeowner save money and time.

Electric Strip Heaters 

Electric strips are wires in the unit that use electricity for creating heat. Even if they are not used often (they require additional energy), the furnace depends on the strips to handle specific tasks. Since the furnace does not use the electric strip heater often, it is necessary to have a technician check to see if they are safe to use.

Proper Refrigerant

High or low refrigerant charges may go unnoticed for a while. If a dip in refrigerant occurs, it can increase operating costs; however, if the charge is not “right” for the unit, it can cause the compressor to stop working. To check the refrigerant levels, a professional technician will read the pressure gauges to measure the temperature differential. This lets them figure out the electrical demand on the compressor, which should help reduce energy costs.

Visible Leaks

There are several reasons a furnace may begin to leak. Some of the most common culprits include the venting system, air conditioner, dehumidifier, or nearby plumbing elements. To figure out what is wrong with the furnace and why it is leaking, it is a good idea to consult with the professionals.

Belts and Pulleys

Damaged pulleys and belts can make an array of annoying sounds. They may also wind up costing someone unnecessary money. If the belts or pulleys are not tight enough, they could slip, preventing the fan from turning correctly and creating much less hot air for a person’s money.

Vibration Sounds

Usually, loose parts are the cause of annoying vibration sounds that come from a furnace. Some of the most common loose parts include the framing, access panels, and circulation fan. When the professionals service the furnace, they will tighten all the bolts and screws to ensure all the parts are secured.

Indoor Coil Cleaning

One of the initial things that professional HVAC technicians are going to check is the airflow in the system. This is going to have a huge impact on the degree and quality of heat created. The professionals will check and clean the coils ensuring they can efficiently do their job.

Don’t put off calling for furnace service. Without this professional service, serious issues may arise with the system, which will cost more money to repair as time passes. Being informed and knowing what to expect is the best way to keep any furnace working efficiently throughout the years.

Allen Kelly and Co. | | 919-779-4197 | | | | |