Cold February winds challenge the heating efficiency of any heating system and prompt a question: Will your heating system make it through the winter? Although late summer and early fall are the ideal time to get the gas furnace ready for winter, it is still not too late to have your heating equipment serviced.
The Heating System Inspection
The best companies, like Philadelpha Gas & Electric Heating & Air Conditioning Co of Philadelphia, employ trained, licensed and certified service technicians who know what is required to put a gas furnace heating system in top running order and recommend that it be given a through inspection every year. A complete inspection should include the following actions:
- The thermostat setting need to be checked to ensure that it is accurate and that it turns the furnace on in the correct sequence. It is also worth investing in a digital thermostat because they are more accurate and respond quicker to temperature changes.
- All of the heater’s moving parts should be inspected and lubricated. Worn mechanical parts need to be replaced. Worn parts rob the system of efficiency and increase the cost of operation.
- Electrical connections need to be inspected and tightened. It is also important to check voltage and current reading on fans and motors. Loose connections result in higher energy use and create a fire hazard.
- Check all condenser drains for clogs. Clogged drains will cause water to back up and pose a potential source of water damage to the home.
- On gas fired furnaces, check for proper gas pressure, burner operation and heat exchanger cracks. Improper burner settings are inefficient and create a carbon monoxide danger. Cracked heat exchangers are also a source of carbon monoxide leaks. The inspection also needs to include a complete cleaning of soot from the furnace.
- Finally, all furnace controls need to be checked for proper starting and operation sequence. Today’s furnaces are designed with safety controls to ensure that heating equipment starts in a safe sequence that will automatically shut down if something is wrong.
Yearly furnace maintenance will prolong the life of the furnace, keep it running efficiently through the heating season, reduce annual operating costs and eliminate the probability of a breakdown on the coldest day of the year. It is estimated that a yearly inspection can reduce annual heating related energy cost by 5 to 10%. A complete inspection by a licensed and certified technician typically costs between $100 and $180. Many companies offer yearly contracts for heating and air conditioning systems that can be paid monthly.
However you decide to get the heating system inspected, it needs to be done as soon as possible. This way you will avoid the unexpected surprise of a heating system breakdown during the cold of winter.