Routine Furnace Maintenance Fundamentals: What You Need To Know

If you've recently bought a home, one of the things that you should pay particular attention to is the furnace. Especially with cold weather setting in, it's important that you understand the maintenance history of your furnace so that you can ensure that the unit gets the seasonal maintenance it needs. Here's a look at what you need to know about furnace maintenance and the issues that neglect can cause.

What Does Furnace Maintenance Involve?

The actual steps involved in your furnace maintenance appointment will vary based on the type of furnace that you have, but it generally means replacing the air filters, cleaning out the burner, replacing any broken fuel nozzles, and ensuring that the pilot light is burning properly. Additionally, with a boiler heating system, the technician will inspect the chambers and ensure that they are in good condition, free of corrosion, and not prone to leaks.

Why Is Furnace Maintenance Important?

There are a number of reasons why furnace maintenance is important. For example, the furnace maintenance process usually involves cleaning out the firebox to remove any ash or other residue that may be built up. It's important that you do this on a regular basis so that you don't risk combustion from an excess of burn waste and debris.

Also, inspecting the burner unit is important. If your furnace is located in the same immediate area as your washer and dryer, for example, you may have dryer lint built up in the burner. When the burner draws air into the unit, it can draw the lint in with it. Over time, excess lint accumulation can lead to a fire in your furnace burner.

Finally, furnace maintenance can identify any signs of wear or potential component failure before it leads to complete furnace failure issues. That way, you can address problems sooner and keep your home's heating system running at its best.

How Do You Know When Your Furnace Was Serviced?

If the paperwork from the prior homeowner doesn't show you when the furnace was last serviced, you can usually find out by checking the service tags on the furnace itself. Most heating companies will place either an adhesive or a hanging tag on the furnace with a date that indicates when they performed a routine maintenance service on the furnace. Check these tags to see when the last one was completed.

In situations where you can't determine it through the tags, you should ask the prior homeowners which company they used for their furnace repair and maintenance needs. The company can tell you the date of their last maintenance appointment.

Aim for at least one routine furnace maintenance appointment each year. Schedule it before the cold weather sets in so that you can be confident that your furnace is ready for the winter ahead.