Boiler and Furnace Tune-Up Checklist
Important Pre-Heating Season Maintenance
Winter is coming...and by preparing now, you won't get caught off guard. One of the most important things you can do for your home and family is to schedule an HVAC maintenance and inspection visit from a heating professional.
Whether you use a boiler or furnace, you should get it checked. That’s why we’ve developed this tune-up guide to help you understand the scope and importance of a proper heating system maintenance inspection.
Why Get Heating System Maintenance?
An annual heating inspection is meant, first and foremost, to keep you and your family safe from combustible equipment and deadly exhaust. The other purpose is to ensure your system is running properly to keep you warm all winter.
Annual Furnace Maintenance
Carbon monoxide is released as a byproduct of combustion occurring inside the furnace. If your venting is blocked or otherwise not functioning properly, that gas might be flowing back into your home.
That's why it's so important to have a professional not only check for leaks and proper venting but also to inspect the heat exchanger. Since exhaust flows through the heat exchanger, if there's a crack, carbon monoxide can sneak into your home.
After your safety is ensured, you want to make sure your furnace will heat your home properly. There are many diagnostics your serviceman will do to check your furnace's performance like inspecting the blower, testing the electrical draw, checking your pilot light, and flushing the condensate line on high-efficiency models.
Change Your Furnace Filter
It's smart to change your furnace filter going into the heating season. A dirty filter will restrict the flow of air and reduce the effectiveness of your heating system.
Also, because the furnace blower has to work harder to circulate air with a dirty filter, it will use more electricity, further increasing your heating costs.
Residential Boiler Maintenance
As with furnaces, any boiler inspection needs to start with safety. Your professional will check for intake/exhaust leaks and inspect the heat exchanger.
Next, in order for the boiler to function properly, there cannot be water leaks or excess air in the system.
To make sure there is no air in the system, it should be bled at the beginning of each heating season. This involves opening any manual air vents to allow trapped air to escape, as well as making sure any automatic air vents in the system are working correctly. Trapped air will reduce the effectiveness of radiators and could create blocks that prevent hot water from reaching the areas where it is needed.
A technician will then proceed to check for proper operation of boiler control systems and safety devices. These include thermostats, aquastats, zone relay controls, safety switches, and relief valves.
Failure of a control device will often lead to a lack of heat, over/under heating, or excessive energy use. Should a safety device fail, you could be exposing your home and family to dangers such as flooding, fire, and carbon monoxide.
Circulation Pump Maintenance
Circulation pumps and boiler expansion tanks should also be checked prior to the start of each heating season. Although most modern pumps are self-lubricating, circulators in older homes may require that the technician apply proper lubrication to keep the pumps from failing.
As for expansion tanks, a water-logged tank can cause the pressure in the heating system to increase beyond safe levels causing a loss of heating and possibly flooding.
You'll be using your heating system full-time before you know it. Don't wait to call your technician and give your furnace or boiler the "annual physical" it needs.