The majority of homeowners never ever think about the furnace until it breaks down in the middle of winter. Even though furnaces are sturdy machines that can last many years, some type of maintenance is required each year. Homeowners should appreciate that there are certain symptoms that may be indicative of a poorly functioning furnace, which if ignored, can result in major repairs or replacement costing lots of money. Some of the symptoms of a malfunctioning furnace that all homeowners should be able to recognize include the following:
1. Look for signs of rust such as corrosion, water stains or leakage of water along the seam lines or joints. This is indicative that the furnace may need replacement and needs to be seen by an HVAC technician.
2. If the system you have forces air out, then it should have air filters. It is important to make sure that the filters are not plugged with debris and you need to replace them at least twice a year or more if you have a lot of dust. Clogging up of the filter leads to poor efficiency of the machine and less effective air circulation.
3. Note the area around the furnace for dust, paint chips, lint, chemicals and other flammable liquids and remove them; because these agents can easily catch fire or cause an explosion.
4. Make sure that the warm and cold air outlets are not obstructed with carpet, mesh, clothes or other debris as this automatically turns off the machine. In addition, if you are making any home reconstruction in the basement, make sure that the renovations do not block the furnace’s air supply.
5. The biggest enemy of heating and cooling system in the home is dirt. Dirt in the pipes and filter can cause wastage of fuel and significantly lower efficiency of the machine. So once in a while, wipe and vacuum the area around the furnace and air conditioner.
6. If you see any loose duct tape, rocking pipes or loose joints which may be due to the constant thermal contraction and expansion, you need to make a note and call a HVAC technician to make sure that there is no gas leak.
7. Always check your air ducts on a regular basis to ensure that there is heat blowing out of them. If there is no heat, it means that either your ducts are blocked or your furnace is not working.
8. Most home owners forget that the thermostat runs on batteries and they need to be changed every 12-24 months. In some cases, a faulty thermostat may prevent the furnace or air conditioner from starting. Thermostats are relatively cheap and last a long time. They are easy to maintain.
9. Finally always check the home for gas. You should never be able to smell gas when the furnace is in good working condition. Thus, if you ever smell gas, you should quickly leave the home and call the energy people and an HVAC technician ASAP.
To ensure that your heating and cooling system remain functional, get the appliance serviced at least once a year. This way, any problems will be detected way before anything serious occurs.