A Guide to Furnace Maintenance and Repairs

in Home Improvement

Now that it’s getting colder, it’s time to make sure your furnace is in tip-top shape. If your furnace has been neglected over the summer, you may face having no heat in your home over the winter. You need to ensure your furnace receives regular maintenance to increase its lifespan and efficiency. While you should contact a professional to take care of bigger problems, there are some things you can do yourself. Read on for our short guide on furnace maintenance and repairs.

Hire a Professional

Having your furnace serviced annually by a licensed professional will reduce the need to repair and replace the individual parts. If you haven’t had your furnace serviced in a while, you should contact furnace repair services in Burnaby to make sure it is working as it should be.

There are several indicators that your furnace needs immediate maintenance by a technician. Noises, such as banging, whistling, buzzing, humming, or rattling can indicate that there is a bigger problem, such as a loose screw, an electrical issue, or damage to the blower motor. If you have a gas furnace and you start to notice an unusual smell that won’t go away, there is a good chance that there is a gas leak. If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, this is a sign that you need to leave the house and contact a HVAC contractor straight away. Hiring a professional technician to maintain and repair your furnace will not only keep your furnace in working condition, but it will also make it safer to use.

Clean the Air Filter

The filter can become blocked with debris and dust over time, so you should clean it regularly or change it. The furnace’s manual should give you a guideline on how often the filter should be replaced. A dirty air filter can cause your furnace to work harder and overheat, increasing your heating bills and reducing the air quality of your home. You’ll notice that the filter will need changing or cleaning when you furnace struggles to heat your house.

Clean and Relight the Pilot Light

Relight the pilot light if it is off or reset the electrical igniter. If it doesn’t turn on, this can be indicative of another problem. The pilot light on your furnace can go out if there is too much dust, and you can blow air into the pilot to remove it. It can also go off if there is a thermocouple malfunction. A draft can cause the pilot light to go off, so you should find the source of the draft and try to prevent it. It will likely be caused by air leaking out of a furnace duct. To prevent it, clean the duct. If the pilot light has failed, you may need to call in a professional to repair it.

Check the Thermostat

There are plenty of reasons your thermostat may be malfunctioning. If you’re not feeling any hot air, check that the thermostat is on and set to “heat” instead of “cool”. If it doesn’t turn on, then change the batteries. Alternatively, the thermostat’s wiring may be loose or damaged or a circuit breaker may have tripped. Carefully wipe away any dust and dirt. If you have a programmable thermostat, then check the settings. Make sure it’s set to turn on and off at the right times. Check that the heat anticipator is properly calibrated. If none of these solutions work for you, then your thermostat may be faulty and need to be replaced.

Check the Blower Door Safety Switch

There are multiple safety switches on a furnace, and the first one you should check is the blower door safety switch. When the door panel has been removed, the safety switch on the furnace door will pop out and prevent the burner and fan from coming on so you don’t burn yourself, start a fire, or release gas into the house. Check that the plunger has not been taped down. You or a technician may have taped it down when testing the switch, so make sure that any tape has been removed. Do a continuity test on the blower door safety switch to make sure it is functioning properly, and if it isn’t, you’ll need to install a new one. You can do this yourself by buying the part at a hardware store or by hiring a professional.

If you’re having trouble with furnace maintenance and repairs, read the manual. If that fails to help, you should always request the help of a licensed professional.

Image Credits: Wesley Tingey

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