One of the biggest appliances in a home is the heater or furnace. It is also one of the most important appliances that is necessary to provide heat in the middle of winter.
However, a heating and furnace system will not operate reliably without regular maintenance. If you don’t stay current on your heating and furnace service, chances are you will be forced to pay whatever the repair service decides to charge to get it up and running again in the dead of winter.
That’s why homeowners must regularly service their heating system, whether it’s a separate furnace or heat provided through the AC system. Regular service also ensures you get the longest life possible from the heating system, and you avoid major breakdowns. An annual furnace service can also help keep energy bills lower in your home.
Key items on your heating and furnace maintenance list
An annual heating and furnace maintenance service should include a number of key items on the checklist to ensure your system continues to work properly when needed.
- Clear area around outdoor unit: Furnaces rely on outdoor air to provide heat throughout a home, so it’s important to make sure the area around the outdoor unit is clear of debris, vegetation and objects.
- Check burners: Warm air is created by burners heating a mix of cool air and fuel. The burners must remain clear of dust and debris to operate properly.
- Clean chimney and vents: Air vents and a chimney blocked by debris could pose a danger to your home, so make sure they are cleaned once a year.
- Replace air filter: While air filters should be replaced every few months, it’s important to install a new one when servicing your heater to ensure it operates properly.
- Inspect fan: Your furnace uses a fan to blow warm air, so make sure it is clear of debris and dust for proper performance.
- Seal leaks: Make sure all the areas around your home are properly sealed to ensure that you do not waste warm air that may leak through crevices.
- Inspect and lubricate major parts: The main components of your heating and furnace system require regular inspection and lubrication to ensure it continues to run properly.
What happens if you don’t regularly maintain heating and furnace system?
The biggest risk homeowners face if they don’t regularly maintain their furnace is loss of heat when they need it most. Without proper maintenance, it’s not a matter of if but when your system will fail.
Failure to properly maintain a heating system can also be a health risk. When a technician is hired to service your furnace, they will check for carbon monoxide leaks. These can be difficult to detect because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. An excessive amount of carbon monoxide can produce headaches, dizziness, nausea and even death. Each year, more than 100,000 people in the United States require emergency treatment at the hospital for carbon monoxide exposure, and more than 400 people die.
In some extreme cases, when a furnace that hasn’t been serviced in some time is determined to be a health hazard, it can be deemed unsafe and unable to be used until the system is repaired.
Scheduling regular maintenance can save you money
Failure to regularly maintain a heating and furnace system can also void any warranty that may remain on the unit. Most manufacturers stand by their heaters and furnaces for a certain number of years, paying to repair them if they do not perform as promised. However, homeowners are expected to properly maintain the system for the warranty to remain valid. A manufacturer can deny warranty coverage if the heating system was not regularly and properly maintained, and they determine homeowner negligence led to the system failure.
Because hiring a professional to inspect and maintain your heating and furnace system is relatively inexpensive, it makes sense to avoid paying thousands of dollars out of pocket to buy a new one because you failed to properly service it regularly. It’s best to hire a professional to complete the maintenance because they can ensure your system is working at optimal performance.