February, 02/02/2021, 09:10
Fulfilling all your responsibilities as a homeowner can be a daunting task. You need to conduct periodic maintenance of your home, pay mortgages and bills on time, and ensure that all essentials are working efficiently.
An essential part of home maintenance is conducting regular furnace inspection, something you may not always pay attention to. However, it is as important as any other maintenance task to keep your home in good condition.
Ever heard the term “prevention is better than cure?” It couldn’t have been said any better!
HVAC systems are essential to ensure comfortable temperatures inside your home throughout the year. Sudden breakdowns are not only costly but may also result in complete failure and replacement of your furnaces.
This DIY Furnace Maintenance guide covers all the important steps you need to follow to prevent costly breakdowns. It is important to note that most of the maintenance tasks you’ll be performing are preventive in nature. Moreover, we are only focusing on DIY maintenance of gas furnaces.
- A Word of Caution
- Most Common HVAC Problems
- Leaking Pipes and Drain Lines
- Leaking Ducts
- Dirt and Debris
- Friction Among Moving Parts
- Signs and Symptoms You Need to Call an HVAC Professional
- Short Cycling
- Uneven Flame
- Strange Noises From the Furnace
- Mild to Severe Illness
- Furnace Inspection and Maintenance Costs
- Symptoms You Need to Replace Your Furnace
- How Much Does a Furnace Inspection Cost?
- Call Us for Denver Furnace Maintenance
We’ll be discussing common HVAC problems and their possible solutions. Remember, if there is something you don’t understand, stop whatever you’re doing and call professional HVAC contractors like JDs Plumbing.
As always when inspecting any electrical equipment, turn off the power supply to avoid hazardous incidents. Also, while vacuuming the burners, do not stick anything into the pilot or try to make any adjustments to the burner. You can severely damage the components possibly resulting in a dangerous flash fire afterwards. Leave all the technicalities to the pros and let them handle what you can’t do.
Here are some common HVAC problems that you need to keep tabs on:
Corrosion takes place when the moisture in your environment erodes wiring terminals or other metallic components of your furnace. Once a month, check terminals and wires for any corrosion. Use a piece of sandpaper and gently rub on the parts to remove corrosion. Sometimes, your flame sensor may prevent your furnace from igniting due to residual coating it. Remove the sensor gently from its bracket and use an emery cloth to clean it. Once done, put it back up in the bracket.
Pipes and drain lines can get blocked at any time. If left unchecked, a blockage may lead to leakages, forcing your furnace to continue running for longer periods and damaging several components in the process. Once every week, check all drain pipes for leakages. If there is something you don’t understand, call in professional Denver HVAC contractors.
It is your ducts that deliver hot air to your rooms. If you notice any leakage, use a piece of metal tape to seal off ducts. To inspect the leakage, turn on your furnace and wait for the blower motor to kick in. Once turned on, you can confirm that the air is passing through the vents by holding your hand about 2 inches away from the sealed tape. If you do not feel air, you are done. If you still notice leakages, it’s time to call in HVAC contractors.
It doesn’t matter which part of the world we live in, the innate nature and ability of furnaces are to filter and deliver clean air inside our homes. In the process of doing so, the air filters become blocked and have to be either cleaned or replaced.
A clogged air filter will force your furnace to continue running for hours, reducing indoor air quality, and damaging essential components.
It takes no more than 15 minutes to open up and clean the air filter. If you feel it cannot be cleaned, go ahead and replace it. The fiberglass filter should be changed every 3 months, and costs barely $5.
This will go a long way towards protecting the blower and motor. However, if you are replacing the air filter, it is highly recommended to check the instruction manual and find the recommended options laid out by your brand.
You should also vacuum the blower motor without touching its blades. Manufacturers balance these components carefully and any unnecessary adjustments can disrupt the entire heating process. You also do not want to void the warranty.
Modern HVACs come with hot surface igniters. Do not touch the igniters and use either a straw to blow the dust off, or vacuum them gently. Hot surface igniters are sensitive and can break quite easily.
All furnaces have moving parts such as motor belts. Older furnaces may also have motor bearings. Consult your instruction manual for the right type of lubrication oil and lubricate these parts to reduce friction. Just by lubricating, you may notice a reduction in strange noises coming out of your furnace.
While there are a number of tasks you can do yourself, remember that your furnace is a complex system that a non-qualified person may not understand. Cleaning and changing air filters is just the beginning. Then come the more difficult tasks such as checking the overall efficiency of your ductwork and electrical components. That’s where you’ll need to call in the HVAC professionals.
Here are some of the warning signs for when you should call in some professional HVAC contractors.
Your furnace keeps turning off every few minutes. This is called short cycling and it means that your thermostat needs adjustment. Since most modern furnaces are designed to immediately shut off in case of a problem, it is ideal to call HVAC pros to determine the root cause and suggest a viable solution to the short cycling.
Your burners could be dirty and need to be immediately cleaned. Uneven flames could be the reason you aren’t receiving enough heat in your home. The burners are in a difficult-to-reach place. It is a good idea to properly vacuum the burners and your entire base. A vacuum cleaner is powerful enough to suck in all that dust you see on or near the furnace.
When your furnace starts, is it a quiet operation or does it sound like a commercial jet is taking off? Modern furnaces should be quiet enough not to be noticed and if you hear strange noises such as rumbling, squeaking, or rattling, it is time to call in HVAC pros. The noise may be coming from a loose belt or motor and the sooner it is inspected, the better.
If you or your family members frequently experience headaches or flu symptoms, it is time to have the furnace checked. Illness could be a result of carbon monoxide leakage from improper combustion. It could also be from clogged duct pipes, or mold growth near vents.
DIY preventive maintenance can cost anywhere between $10 to $50 depending upon the type and quality of air filter that needs to be changed. If you hire HVAC technicians, expect to pay around $60 to $100 for furnace inspection and maintenance. While DIY preventive maintenance can save you some money, it is always a good idea to call in qualified HVAC contractors to inspect your furnace.
HVAC contractors are licensed in the state they are operating in. Many of them have years of experience in dealing with different types of furnaces and can provide a much better solution compared to an unqualified person.
While maintenance isn’t costly, it’s repairs where you will eventually start racking up expenses.
Here is the average cost of furnace repairs. Keep in mind that it will vary from state to state so you need to ask your HVAC contractor before proceeding with any of the following repairs and replacements:
- Blower Motor: $150
- Replacement Blower Motor: $450
- Thermostat Replacement: $50 to $200+
- Replacement Ignitor: $300 to $400
- Repair Flame Sensor: $80
- Replacement Flame Sensor: $250
- Repair Heat Exchanger: $100
- Replacement Heat Exchanger: $500 to $1,200
- Repair Pressure Sensor/Circuit Board: $50
- Replacement Pressure Sensor/Circuit Board: $350
- Replace Gas Valve: $150
- Replacement Smart Valve: $750
- Replacement Draft Inducer: $150 to $450
If you notice that the repair or replacement cost is 50% or higher than buying a new furnace, it’s time to upgrade. Read on next to find out when it’s the right time to replace your furnace.
The point of regular furnace maintenance is to keep it running safely for its expected lifespan of 15 to 20 years. However, as mentioned earlier, there are symptoms of when to call in an HVAC professional to do all the repairs and maintenance.
Similarly, there are signs of when it’s time to finally say goodbye to your old furnace and buy a new one.
- The Following Signs are a Surefire Way to Determine the Right Time to Replace Your Furnace:
- Your System is Over a Decade Old and Nearing the End of it's Life Expectancy.
- It Keeps Turning On or Off Itself.
- You Notice Uneven Heat in Your Home.
- Your System is Making Strange Noises, Which Even After Repairs Don’t go Away.
- Your Energy Bills are Skyrocketing Despite Regular Maintenance.
- The Manufacturer Warranty has Expired.
- Your furnace needs regular repairs.
- There are Humidity Problems.
- Your Home Energy Yardstick Score is Lower than Average.
Regardless of your experience in maintaining and fixing HVAC systems, we’d still suggest you hire a furnace professional in Denver to check all the issues and recommend a feasible solution such as furnace replacement. Here’s a complete 2021 furnace replacement guide.
The average cost of furnace inspection shouldn’t be more than $100 in Denver, CO. It covers everything that you can do at home but it’s done by professionals and includes:
- Inspect Furnace Heat Exchanger
- Inspect Furnace Safety Devices
- Inspect Pilot and/or Flame Sensor
- Inspect Motors and Lubricate Moving Parts
- Check and Tighten Motor Belts
- Check Carbon Monoxide Gas Leakages
- Inspect Short Cycling
- Adjust Thermostat
- Inspect and tighten all electric components
- Clean Ducts and Drain Pipes
- Clean and/or Replace Air Filter
- Test Ignition System
- Inspect Electric Components for Proper Voltage and Amps
It takes anywhere around 2 to 4 hours for a proper furnace inspection to be done and is definitely worth the investment.
Call Us for Denver Furnace Maintenance
Despite following all of our advice, we understand there may be times when you get stuck. So instead of pushing to do everything yourself, just give us a call or submit your query here.
It’s always great to have a professional by your side. We have NATE-certified technicians who won’t perform unnecessary procedures on your furnace. Our annual furnace inspection and maintenance involves thorough inspection and will keep your furnace’s warranty intact.
Have a peaceful night sleep knowing your furnace will be in good working order when you need it the most. Let JDs Plumbing take care of all your furnace maintenance and inspection needs.