What to Expect From a Heating Professional During a Routine Furnace Inspection

Having an annual furnace inspection by a knowledgeable and skilled HVAC professional is not only a good idea to ensure that your HVAC system is working at its most efficient, but it can also be a safety guarantee as a malfunctioning furnace could potentially release harmful (even deadly) gases into your home or cause a fire. An annual inspection and tune-up can also help extend the life of your heating equipment by preventing unnecessary damage to vital parts of your system and can also identify and address small problems before they become more serious issues that involve costly repairs or even total system replacement.

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When you have scheduled your annual furnace inspection, you might be wondering what to expect when the HVAC professional comes to your home. How long will he be there? Will he need to examine other parts of the home other than the furnace? Will he have questions for you about your system? These are all valid questions. Though the inspection can and will vary depending on whom you hire, here are the basic tasks a professional will perform:

–Check the vent system for leaks or blockages.
–Examine the heat exchanger for signs of crack, separations, or corrosion that could lead to carbon monoxide leaks.
–Check the blower and clean the components.
–Check the air intake grills for blockages.
–Test the thermostat calibration and re-calibrate if necessary to ensure a more comfortably heated home.
–Check the burner for proper ignition and test the flame sensor for accurate operation.
–Test for a tight seal on the blower access door.
–Examine the flue for obstructions to ensure that toxic fumes can escape and not contaminate your indoor air.
–Perform an amp-draw test on the blower motor and compare the results to the unit’s listed specifications.
–Test the system’s start-up cycle to ensure it is functioning properly.
–Check the belts for signs of wear or cracks.
–Test the unit’s safety controls, including the high limit control which prevents the furnace from overheating.
–Lubricate all the motor’s moving parts to reduce friction.
–Check the furnace’s air filter and change if necessary.
–Check that all electrical connections are tight and examine for signs of wear or corrosion.
–Check the pilot light, if applicable. Most new furnaces have pilot-less ignition.

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Though it may be helpful to be home when this inspection takes place in case the professional has questions or would like to point out issues, it is usually not necessary as they will provide a report and will contact you if they have questions.

There are really only two times when furnace problems show up. The first is during an annual furnace inspection such as the one described above. The second is in the dead of winter when your system goes out and you’re stuck in a freezing cold home (or even worse, when someone in your family is injured due to a fire or gas leak from the furnace). If you’re like most people, you’d much rather the problems show up during the inspection so you can take care of them before they become costly, inconvenient, or even deadly. An annual inspection is well worth the money it costs to ensure your family’s comfort and safety.

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