How Important Is A Furnace Inspection?
An annual furnace inspection is more than just checking and changing your furnace filters. But do you really need to pay for a professional furnace inspection or can you do it yourself?
Furnace filters and simple cleaning are important parts of maintenance, but a thorough furnace inspection is something you should understand if not actually perform. Most manufacturers will recommend an annual professional furnace inspections in part because it often includes maintenance that most homeowners will simply not do.
The important thing to remember is that while any newer equipment is under warranty, improper maintenance may very well void that furnace warranty. That still doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to pay a heating contractor for a professional furnace inspection every year. Every other year is often recommended for newer units under warranty, and then every year after the first ten years.
Most heating contractors’ furnace inspection contracts cannot easily be compared with others. They’re not often interchangeable and include a wide range of services and furnace inspection points that will vary widely depending on the heating contractors and what they’re actually offering.
Industry standards are a bit better for a natural gas furnace inspection than they are for commercial boiler and HVAC systems. There are fewer parts, options and variations. Still, being familiar with your own equipment, its weaknesses and strengths, is all going to be to your advantage.
Heating contractors may or may not include any of the following services. Your job is not to do them all yourself, but to check which of them you are paying for, and to pay the least for as many of them as possible. All of these are in addition to changing your furnace filters.
You want to closely check which of the following your heating contractor is offering to do:
- The fresh air intake grill and vent system needs to be checked for blockage and leakage. Connections at the furnace and inside the furnace need to be checked particularly closely.
- Check the heat exchange assembly for any corrosion or signs of problems.
- Check the door of blower assemble for sealing and be sure it seals tightly. A professional may want to remove, clean and lubricate the blower wheel. They may also compare the results of an amp-draw test on the blower motor with the manufacturers specifications.
- Proper ignition, flame height and flame sense need to be checked. Flame sense needs to be checked by a professional who will use an device (a sensor) to measure the quality of the fuel being burned and how well your system is handling it.
Likewise, a professional heating inspection might include an analysis of the combustion gases and a comparison with what the manufacturer recommends.
Importantly, a good heating contractor is also going to check the the wiring for corrosion. This is often related to problems or blockage in the drainage system or related hoses and pipes. These must always be included in your own or in a good professional furnace inspection. The price for a visual inspection like this, though, won’t likely be very significant.
More exotic items on a furnace inspection checklist might include checking the gas or static air pressure and the temperature increase within the unit, but you should ask your heating contractor before paying for any of them.
Furnace filters need to be replaced, not annually, but somewhere between every one and every three months and you should ask your heating contractor if you have any trouble replacing them. But remember, professional furnace inspection is not just about checking your furnace filters. A professional furnace inspection is also about catching and preventing an interruption in the normal, safe and comfortable operation of your entire heating system. This should also prevent the much higher emergency service charges that many heating contractors have to charge for unexpected visits.
If you have any questions about furnace maintenance please don’t hesitate to call, we are more than happy to help. Call now, 646-783-2475
Filed under: Heating Maintenance