Schedule Your Service Check Before You Need The Furnace
With autumn breezes heading to Northeast Ohio, now is a good time to think about the status of your home’s heating system. Cold winter months are right around the corner, and an annual fall maintenance service check should be a priority for area homeowners.
When you rely on a qualified technician for your system’s annual tune-up, you can be sure they will check all the critical areas. An HVAC professional will:
- Check the air flow
- Inspect the thermostat for proper operation
- Inspect the filter and change or clean
- Check all electrical components and controls
- Oil the motors
- Inspect the heat exchanger for possible cracks
- Check air-fuel mixture
- Troubleshoot any problems that have popped up
Putting off an annual fall maintenance check-up can lead to a shorter lifespan for your furnace and higher heating bills. It also leaves room for serious issues such as carbon monoxide poisoning. Whether your heating system is gas, electric, oil, or steam, regular preventative maintenance will help you save in the long run. And, of course, no one can put a price on your loved ones’ safety.
What Will Your Technician Tend To?
While everyone should have fall maintenance performed by a professional, not all furnace tune-up appointments are the same. Every HVAC company uses its own checklist, so something that one company includes in their list may be considered an extra service task at another company. With that said, there are some general things that most HVAC technicians will tend to. After that, there are higher-level maintenance items which may require a special appointment or an additional charge.
General Fall Maintenance Checklist
The following items are usually covered on any furnace tune-up checklist. However, it’s always a good idea to ask your HVAC contractor ahead of time, so you know what they include in their check and what they do not.
- Check thermostat settings. Your HVAC technician will want to ensure your thermostat works correctly and responds appropriately to programming and setting changes.
- Parts lubrication. All moving parts in your system should be lubricated at least once a year. This helps to prevent excess wear and tear as well as increase efficiency.
- Inspect electrical components. The electrical components will be inspected and tightened as necessary. Your technician will also measure the voltage and current on the motors.
- Inspect condensate drain. Your condensate drain will be inspected to make sure it was draining properly through the cooling season.
- Heat exchangers. The technician should examine these for any cracks or separations that can cause carbon monoxide buildup in the home, compromising your family’s safety.
- Control check. Your technician will also check the controls and run the system to ensure it starts, cycles, and stops correctly.
- Blower wheel. This should be inspected for debris and will need to be cleaned if dirty.
- Chimney/flue inspection. The technician should inspect the chimney or flue for cracks, poor seals, or other signs of wear and tear.
- Gas line inspection. He or she should also check the gas line for any leaks.
- Burners/ignitions. These should be checked to make sure they are igniting/burning efficiently. They should be cleaned if needed.
- Filter changes. If needed, the technician will change the furnace filter to increase efficiency and maintain healthy indoor air quality. Homeowners should get in the habit of inspecting the filter and replacing it if it’s dirty on a monthly basis.
How Much Do You have Checked Off of Your Fall Maintenance Checklist?
Winters in Northeast Ohio are known for their harsh conditions, with the heating season sometimes lasting from October to April. Taking care of your fall maintenance checklist outside of professional maintenance ensures your home is ready for cooler temperatures.
In between scheduled service checks, you can handle a few tasks on your own. Use the guide below to gauge the progress of your fall home maintenance:
- Heating and cooling your home can account for nearly half of your energy costs. Make sure you’re not losing heated air by air sealing your home. Check around windows, doors, and other likely places for air leaks. If you find leaks, seal them with weatherstripping or caulk. This simple bit of maintenance can save 20% of your heating costs this winter.
- When someone performs fall maintenance on your heating system, make sure they’re a qualified, professional technician. This way, minor issues can be addressed before they become major problems. When you maintain HVAC equipment regularly, it runs more efficiently and has a longer life.
- When you turn on your furnace for the cold seasons, change the direction of ceiling fan blades to clockwise. This creates an upward draft to redistribute warm air away from the ceiling and down into the room.
- Replace the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Check the home’s foundation for cracks. Take special care to inspect areas where the foundation meets other building material. Look around doors and windows for areas where air can escape. Close any gaps with caulk or spray foam, just like you did with the interior portion.
- Visually inspect the roof for damaged, missing, and loose shingles, replacing where needed.
- Once trees have shed their leaves, clean out gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters are a primary cause of ice dams, which can cause considerable damage in winter. They also force rainwater and melted snow to flow over the edges of gutters and down into the foundation. If you have a lot of leaf fall on your property, you’ll need to clear out the gutters regularly throughout the autumn.
- Drain and store hoses. After you are done with them for the season, shut off the water supply to outdoor spigots.
- Clean and store outdoor furniture and garden tools, so they’re safe and ready for use again next year.
- Test your snow removal equipment. Have repairs and maintenance completed before the first snow falls – you don’t want to be caught with a broken snowblower during a snowstorm.
- Remove any soil from pots and planters.
Keep your family warm and safe this winter by scheduling an appointment for a fall maintenance check up today. The professionals at Stack Heating & Cooling can check your heating system and answer any questions you may have about maintaining a comfortable home year-round.