To keep your HVAC system functioning at the top of its game, it needs some special attention every once and a while. That’s not to say that heaters and air conditioners aren’t sturdy machines built to last. Their lifespans usually range between 10 and 20 years after all. But to get the most out of them, to get the most energy efficiency, and to minimize the risk of needing repairs in the future, maintenance is needed. Regular maintenance is an important responsibility you have as the owner of a heater. Some of that maintenance can easily be done by you and some of it can only come from a professional.
Luckily, though regular maintenance by a trained professional is necessary, it isn’t necessary that often. Once a year is what most manufacturers recommended. That means that just once a year you need to make a call to an Austin heating professional and schedule a heating maintenance check. But what exactly does a heating maintenance check include? Well, that’s what this tip of the day is all about. Read on to learn all about what a thorough, professional routine heating maintenance check will and should look like.
Benefits of Regular Heating Maintenance Checks
Before we dive into the details of what exactly goes on during routine heating maintenance check it might be worth taking a little about what these are going to do for you and why they're worth the money. Some people might have an aversion to spending money on calling a professional over to their house every single year to look at a piece of equipment that seems to be doing just fine on its own. This is understandable but misguided. The manufacturers of these heaters, from heat pumps and boilers to the more common furnaces, not only recommended that you get a maintenance check annually, many of them write this stipulation into their warranties.
The reason being that regular maintenance is essential if you want your heater to stay healthy, last for a long time, and stay efficient. Let’s go over some of these benefits one by one. First of all, when your heater is properly maintained, it operates efficiently, which reduces fuel and energy waste and lowers your annual heating costs. This means that you’ll see a noticeable increase in your energy bills over time the more you neglect to have your heater professionally tuned up. Secondly, an annual tune-up by a qualified and experienced technician can help extend the life of your heating equipment by preventing unnecessary damage to vital system components.
The next big advantage that these visits give you is a lowered risk of breakdowns. During a routine maintenance visit, your HVAC specialist can identify and address small problems before they progress into more serious issues that require costly repairs or replacements. And finally, especially for those with furnaces is, which is the majority of you, routine heating maintenance checks will give you peace of mind when it comes to the safety aspect of home heating. Regular maintenance can help prevent safety issues, such as the risk of fire, and the dangers posed by unhealthy gas fumes, and lethal carbon monoxide leaks.
Furnace Specific Maintenance Details
Speaking of furnaces, let’s look at what your heating technician will do during a maintenance check that is particular to furnaces before we look at general heating maintenance routines. The reason being is that the furnace is the most common type of central heating unit found in most homes in the US. Furnaces, especially gas furnaces, need special care and special cleaning routines because of their particular components and nature.
One thing furnaces have that other types of heaters don’t is a pilot light. The pilot light is the first step in the heater’s process of heating. It is a small flame that in some types of furnaces will stay on continuously. It is the igniter, the fire starter that gets the whole air heating process started and because of this, it requires special attention during a heating maintenance check. As part of your tune-up, adjustments should be made to the pilot and gas pressure as needed to return these elements to manufacturer specifications.
Expanding on this, gas pressure in general is a specific item during the maintenance check that your Austin heater repair technician should attend to. Proper gas pressure enables your heating system to run more efficiently and work within its designed parameters. Having too high or too low of gas pressure in your furnace damages the system, meaning increased utility bills and decreased parts and machine life. So checking the gas pressure setting is essential.
Next up will be the burners. For your gas furnace, properly cleaned burners are a must for furnace maintenance. When burners are clean, the system burns the correct amount of gas, maximizing your utility usage. This step alone results in utility bill savings throughout the winter season. And because gas furnaces include the consistent burning of fuel, checks in the fuel line are necessary to ensure minimal risk of fire. That’s why the technician should check the fuel lines for leaks that could pose a fire hazard or allow harmful fumes to escape.
Professional Heating Maintenance Checklist
The first step in most heating in Austin maintenance checks is going to be a general visual inspection of the unit and the components of the heating system. The service should include a full visual and point review to check all the working parts of your furnace and duct system. An experienced service technician should be able to identify any concerns or signs of excessive wear during this review. This will be the first point where serious concerns could come to light if there are obvious problems but this is only the first step.
The thermostat is the piece in the puzzle that connects you to your heater. It’s often the culprit in the case of heater malfunctions and as such is an important point of focus during any heating maintenance check. Ensure your furnace maintenance technician calibrates your thermostat on every visit. When your thermostat isn’t calibrated correctly to your furnace, you end up setting your thermostat higher or lower in order to compensate. In the process, you use more energy to achieve the temperature you want in your home. However, with a properly calibrated thermostat, your furnace and thermostat work together at maximum efficiency, saving you money and keeping you comfortable.
Lubrication is an important part of the maintenance check. Mechanical equipment needs lubrication to prevent friction between the operating parts. Your heating equipment tune-up should include complete lubrication of the components that require such.
Both boilers and furnaces have a part called the heat exchanger. This is the part where the heat produced by the heater warms up the air or water that will then be sent out into the house through either pipes or ducts. During your next heater maintenance appointment, double-check that the heat exchanger in your furnace is inspected for any breaches that could lead to unsafe operating conditions. Furnace cleanings and tune-ups don’t just save you money: they also keep your home safe. A maintenance check won’t be complete without a close inspection and cleaning of the heat exchanger.
The blower is another important part that needs cleaning and inspection. Both heat pumps and furnaces are going to include a component that functions as the blower, moving the heated air into the ducts and throughout the house. To ensure proper airflow through your heating system and ducts, confirm that your technician cleans the blower motor and wheels. Dirt is the number one factor that decreases the efficiency and life of a heating unit. Make sure your technician cleans these other essential parts of your heating system.
A good maintenance check will end with the technician giving you a checklist of the items that were completed during the visit. You’ll be informed of any and all problems that need to be addressed, parts that may need replacing, and also anything you can do to increase the efficiency and lifespan of your heating unit. This is also the best time to ask any questions you may have about your heating unit and its operation.
Maintenance Check Basics and Heating Repair in Austin
Maintenance checks, they’re an invaluable part of being the owner of a home central heating system. Before you neglect to schedule your annual maintenance check to consider all the benefits. There’s the preventing of repairs needed in the future, the increase in the lifespan of your heating unit, the increase in safety, and the prevention of higher energy bills in the future. All of these reasons and more make it well worth your time and money to invest in an annual heating maintenance check.
Make sure you hire a reputable heating contractor when you get your maintenance check. AC Express is an Austin heater repair company that does everything from maintenance to repair to installation. We operate all across the Austin area, from Cedar Park and Georgetown to Lago Vista and Lakeway. If you need heater repair in Austin, come to us for excellent same-day heater repair or maintenance that can’t be beaten!