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Furnace Maintenance: What Your Need to Know

There is no specific checklist for furnace maintenance. Any site that gives you a checklist is overly general. Each furnace make and model will have different needs. 

As a plumber in Regina Saskatchewan, I would advise every one of my clients to have a professional HVAC specialist take a look at their furnace. A professional is looking for things that cannot easily be taught without more experience. 

You can do a few things at home to support the maintenance and efficiency of your furnace. 

How Often Should You Have Your Furnace Professionally Maintained

Your furnace should be looked at by an HVAC specialist once a year. It is best to have it done when you first turn your furnace on for the cooler season. 

Your furnace maintenance specialist should be a licensed HVAC professional. 

Many large companies will send their apprentices in to complete your maintenance. The problem is an apprentice is still new and doesn’t have the experience to spot problems in different furnaces. They are still learning. Make sure a licensed professional is supporting their apprentice. 

Don’t be afraid to ask about licensing. They are required by law to be licensed to work on your home. Check out our blog on finding the best plumber to learn more about what to look for. 

Work on any gas furnace requires a minimum and legal gas license. Your new apprentice may even end up breaking something accidentally, by going through their maintenance checklist without even knowing it. 

Large companies will sell you maintenance packages. 

While there is nothing wrong with a maintenance package these packages are often sold with the expectation that you will book the maintenance. If you don’t book for that year you lose out. It is best not to pay for maintenance in advance. Make sure you get what you pay for and that you trust the HVAC specialist looking at your furnace. 

There is a difference between a service and an inspection.

There is no value in an inspection unless you are purchasing a new home and want to make sure the furnace is in good working order. An inspection is visual and service is physical. A service means your HVAC specialist will check your furnace, clean it, and make sure all parts are in working order. 

What Needs to Be Maintained on a Furnace

The first thing you can do at home is to check the filter. 

A homeowner can and should regularly check and change the filter on the furnace. The filter gets dirty from dust and debris in your home. It should be changed every 3 months. 

An HVAC specialist should maintain the rest of your furnace unless you have the experience and feel confident opening your furnace. 

  1. Check the heat exchanger – They can sometimes get cracks. There are two heat exchangers on newer furnaces. 
  2. Clean and test the flame sensor – This is often the biggest failure point in a furnace. 
  3. Check gas pressure to make sure it’s set to code – a bad gas pressure will lower your furnace’s life expectancy. 
  4. Performing a temperature rise test – This will make sure your furnace is running to the manufacturer-recommended temperature zone.
  5. Because the furnaces are condensing the grade of the furnace is crucial to life expectancy.
  6. Check for blockages – signs of leaking in the furnace cabinet, around the furnace cabinet, and on the floor surrounding the furnace.
  7. Check the evaporator coil – Make sure there is nothing plugging it. 
  8. Test temperature limits – Make sure your furnace is not overheating.
  9. Check the draft motor and blower motor to ensure they aren’t over-amping – looking for excessive noise or heating on your motor. 
  10. On high-efficiency furnaces check to make sure the drainage and sloping are correct.
  11. Make sure all vents are open in your home. 
  12. Testing all low voltage safety controls. 

Cleaning Your Furnace

Your HVAC specialist will commonly clean your furnace during a maintenance service. A clean furnace means your ducts will stay clean and your filters will be able to do their job by removing dust and allergens from the air. This will also help keep up the efficiency of your furnace. 

Here are the things that should be cleaned in your furnace. 

  1. Vacuum out the burner and the furnace base
  2. Wipe the blower using a vacuum and a small brush
  3. Clean the flame sensor
  4. Replace the air filter
  5. Clean the burner (this is not an at-home job and should be done by a professional)
  6. Lubricate the drive components such as pulleys and motors and tighten tensioners and belts (If your furnace has these issues it’s probably time to look at a new furnace as it is past its life expectancy). All modern furnaces have direct drive motors which do not require the same fixes. 

While some of these steps you as a homeowner can do at home it is surprisingly easy to break parts in your furnace. 

A DIY cleaning job could mean a repair service call and cost you more than the maintenance. 

Trusted Plumbing and Heating is a family owned company servicing the Regina area. If you need a service we would be happy to help give us a call at (306) 552-5489. We provide quality guaranteed service. If you are not in our service area we strongly advise you check the video testimonials of the service tech you are calling or use someone’s word of mouth. It is much harder to get a great testimonial on video which likely shows the true work of the technician.