Fall has arrived, and that means that it’s time to start prepping your home for colder months. Making sure that your heating system is working as it should, as efficiently as possible, and as safe as possible is key to help ensure that your system is ready to take on winter. You can do this by adding furnace maintenance and furnace repair to your fall-home-maintenance list. If you are unsure of what exactly is included in furnace maintenance and repair, follow the list below:
- Furnace Cleaning – Having your system cleaned by a professional before it needs to be used is important. Additionally, during the winter, heating professionals are extremely busy, so getting in early is a great idea. Preventative maintenance and cleaning also eliminates being later left in a freezing home with no heat.
- Air Filters Changed – Your furnace filter will need to be changed prior to winter to ensure proper functionality and efficiency. A dirty or clogged filter could lead to potential for safety concerns, dirty air, and your system working harder than it needs to (which means higher energy bills).
- Check The Thermostat – Switch your thermostat from cooling to heating to make sure that your thermostat is working as it should and that it is in good condition. If your thermostat doesn’t appear to be working, it may need to be replaced.
- Get An Inspection – Prior to winter, you should be hiring a heating professional to perform an inspection on your furnace. A furnace maintenance inspection will involve cleaning the burner, inspecting the fuel system, cleaning and lubrication of motor, inspection of motor, inspection of ventilation system, calibration of thermostat, etc.
Problems Found During Inspection –
If problems are found during your inspection, we will determine whether furnace repair is the best option, or if furnace replacement is necessary. Here are some signs that your furnace may not be functioning as it should.
- Odd Noises –
- Rattling or Rocking – If your furnace is rattling, or moving, this could simply be indicating that a part on your furnace is loose. But, it could also be a sign of a larger problem, like a crack in your heat exchanger. If this is the case, this is very concerning because it could mean toxins are escaping through the crack into the air you breathe.
- Low Rumbling – If the sound you are hearing is more of a low, rumbling sound, this could mean that there is oil inside your combustion chamber, again potentially leading to dangerous fumes within the air.
- Scraping – This is typically a sign of ball bearings being worn out.
- High-pitched – A high-pitched noise may be an indication that the blower belt is sliding or is damaged.
- Pilot Light – Is your pilot light flickering or yellow? This is very common, and most of the time a simple adjustment to the burner light screw or replacement of the light solves it. If you furnace is newer, it likely does not have a pilot light.
- Poor Efficiency Score – The AFUE rating of a furnace describes how much energy is being wasted. As an example, an AFUE rating of 60% means that only 60% of furnace fuel is gained in heat and this would typically be considered a D rating. The less efficient your system is, the more energy and money wasted.
Typically, a well-maintained furnace should last anywhere from 15-20 years.
If your furnace is 25+ years old, you are probably going to be in the market for a furnace replacement rather than furnace maintenance and repair. Your heating specialist can help you to determine whether repairs are best or if it is more economical to replace the system based on the severity of the repairs needed. In some cases, repairs may not be possible.
Considering the age of your system, the cost of repairs, the ability to repair, and the expected success of the repairs, you can determine which route is best. A typical rule of thumb for determining whether repair or replacement is a better value is if the repair costs will cost 50% or more of the system’s value. If repairs are projected to cost 50% or more of the total estimated value of your heating system, then it makes more sense to replace the system. Remember, the additional cost that comes along with replacing your furnace will pay itself back in value (lower energy bills, cleaner air, newer technology, tax credits, improved air quality, less costly repairs, etc.)
Now is the time to schedule your furnace inspection to ensure that it is working as it should and that it’s prepared for winter usage. Don’t wait until you have no heat or there is a problem to call. Be proactive and contact Kulk’s Plumbing & Heating today to schedule your fall furnace maintenance appointment!