Fall is just around the corner, and that means it will soon be time for heating maintenance. You don’t want to be left out in the proverbial cold when winter comes, so make sure to schedule preventive maintenance for your heating system before the temperature drops too low. Read on to find out more about the benefits of preventive heating maintenance, and why you should schedule it during the fall season.
Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Heating Maintenance’
With summer winding down, the time is coming near for you to turn off your air conditioner for the rest of the year. Before heating season gets into full swing, however, it’s a good idea to schedule heating maintenance. You don’t want your heating system to break down in the middle of winter, after all. Let’s take a look at why heating maintenance is so integral to keeping your system in good shape.
Homeowners have a lot to deal with. Utility bills, plumbing, insulation, and a whole host of other little things have a way of occupying all of a person’s attention. These people can’t really be blamed, then, for neglecting their regular furnace maintenance until something breaks and demands a response. This will end up costing a lot more in the long run, however. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons that you should schedule regular heating maintenance.
It Saves Money
The number one reason to schedule regular furnace maintenance is simple: it saves you money. Furnaces don’t ever suddenly break down. There is always a progression of severity, as a minor issue becomes worse and worse until it begins to hinder the furnace’s normal operation. Often, this is from unavoidable wear and tear, but even then it is better to catch the problem before it gets worse. A dirty air filter, for example, is a very cheap and easy thing to replace. Leave it for too long, however, and it can trap heat in the furnace, causing a host of other problems like a cracked heat exchanger. Such things are far more complicated and expensive to fix.
It Improves Efficiency
As a furnace gets older, it will naturally decline over time. It may have to work a bit longer to reach the desired temperature, or burn a bit more fuel than it used to. These minor things aren’t major threats to the furnace or its owners, but they do have an impact on the overall lifespan of the heating system. Regular maintenance can fine-tune your furnace, replacing aging parts that aren’t performing as well and lengthening the amount of time before you have to replace the system.
Ultimately, regular maintenance improves the health and efficiency of your furnace. There’s no reason to ignore it until a problem presents itself. It is recommended that you get your furnace checked at least once a year, to ensure a long and healthy tenure of service.
If you have recently upgraded to radiant floor heating in your Lake Forest area home, it is a good idea to know how to operate and maintain them to get the best results. This ensures that your system will continue to provide reliable and efficient heat throughout the winter. Most importantly, you want to make sure you know the best ways to maintain your system since it contains several components.
At Saddleback Heating & Plumbing, we can help you by providing expert advice and tips on heating maintenance. We also provide repairs should you have problems. First, you’ll need to recognize some common issues so that you can provide more information for the technician who will troubleshoot the problem and resolve it for you.
When having problems with a radiant heating system, the best place to start is by checking the thermostat. Make sure you understand how the settings work and that your system has been programmed for the desired setting.
After making sure that the settings are correct, turn your thermostat up 5 degrees and wait about ten minutes and see if the heat goes up. If so, this could be an indication that your thermostat is not completely accurate and should be adjusted. Check to see that the boiler is functioning properly and if it doesn’t work, call a technician.
Hiring a professional contractor for routine maintenance is another way to help ensure that your radiant floor system works the way it should. During these visits, the technician will tune your system, which includes checking the pipes and other elements of the actual floor heating components. Ask the technician about other ways you can help protect your radiant floor heating system.
To maintain the boiler components, first check your owner’s manual. All models will be different, and you should know how to check basic things, such as the pressure gauge and safety valves. Checking the water level and temperature are also important maintenance tasks.
Call the Lake Forest heating specialists at Saddleback if you would like more tips on how to maintain your radiant floor heating system.
While you should schedule a yearly maintenance visit with a qualified HVAC technician to check for any safety concerns, you can also reduce potential safety hazards in the heating system of your Dana Point home. Whether you have a furnace or a heat pump, you can substantially decrease the chances of dangerous situations with a few minor routine tasks.
If you have any questions about how to better maintain your heating system, give us a call to speak with one of our expert HVAC technicians. Here are a few guidelines to get you started.
Ventilation in Forced-air Systems:
- Regularly vacuum and clean out your heating vents and fan blower.
- Check the condition of your chimney and vent pipe to make sure that none of the parts are damaged or show signs of deterioration.
- Test the thermostat occasionally to make sure your heating system is working at optimal levels. There could be a safety concern if your heater is not properly heating your home.
- Heat exchangers should be inspected often to prevent carbon monoxide leaks. Check for any obvious issues, such as rust or other damages.
- The heat exchanger for furnaces should be inspected by a professional once a year in case there are hidden problems with the equipment, or if any of the components need to be replaced.
- Check the pilot light in gas furnaces for any flickers or changes in color. Have someone turn up the thermostat while you watch the light, but turn off the system for five minutes first. If there are any changes, there could be a problem with the heat exchanger. Call a professional if you suspect issues with your heat exchanger.
Heating Equipment Inspections and Adjustments:
- Adjust the temperature settings if you suspect that the heater isn’t working properly, and if it doesn’t work call a professional heating technician, or if you aren’t sure how to locate or adjust the controls.
- Check the overall equipment for cracks, rust, or any other obvious signs of damage or deterioration that could create safety hazards.
In addition to performing these tasks, call a licensed Dana Point heating contractor to inspect your heating system at least once a year.
Electric heat is clean – but Turtle Rock homeowners pay for that cleanliness with high utility bills. Depending on the area of the country, electric bills can rival those of gas, oil, or propane. So it is only natural to assume that an efficiently running electric furnace is a must for homeowners who are looking to keep their energy costs down.
Electric furnaces are fairly simple machines. They use heating elements to warm the air, which is then distributed through the ventilation system via a fan or blower. The heating element is made up of a metal wire that is heated by normal electrical current. The element is used to warm or heat something, much like the function of an oven or toaster. Their operation is fairly simple – either they work or they don’t.
When a heating element fails it is usually because it is broken, bend, or misshapen. When that happens, it is time to replace it. You can do some preventive maintenance with a visual inspection of your heating elements. If your inspection does not reveal any problems, you can test the element for continuity. You should know how to use an ohmmeter to test it or ask a professional heating and cooling technician to check the elements for you.
Speaking of visual inspection, you can do a quick check for any frayed or damaged wires, which can be a source for wasted electricity, too. Another way to ensure that your electric furnace is running efficiently is to replace or clean your furnace filters on a regular basis. A clogged filter can make a furnace work harder and lead to premature mechanical failure.
And obviously, if the furnace is not working it is best to check for any blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers in the main electrical panel box. If you find one, make sure you replace it with another of the correct amperage.
Lastly, check to make sure the blower motor is operating correctly. You can have perfectly working elements but if the blower can’t push the warm air through your ventilation system, then all of the steps to ensure the electricity is working are for naught. You can usually hear a noisy motor or smell one that isn’t working improperly. Check it on a regular basis and check the fan belt for any damage or slippage, too.
The risks of carbon monoxide have been well documented for years, and everyone in Coto de Caza knows how dangerous it can be. It can be fatal at high concentrations, but even in low levels it can be poisonous enough to make you sick.
What you may not know is that there are many sources of carbon monoxide, also known as CO. This poisonous gas is formed by any incomplete combustion process. Since combustion is not 100% efficient, that means carbon monoxide is released any time something burns.
To be more specific, here are some examples of carbon monoxide sources you might encounter around your house:
- A furnace or chimney can leak exhaust gases, including CO, into the home if it has been improperly sealed or vented. For example, if the chimney has a small crack in the flue that goes unnoticed, CO from the fireplace can be vented back into the house.
- A furnace supplied by an under-sized gas line will often burn the gas at a sub-optimum temperature. The result is incomplete combustion of the gas, which means a source of CO.
- Old, dilapidated or poorly maintained heating systems are a big culprit. Often the seals or fittings are loose on these units, causing CO to leak out of them and into your house. Or they may not burn fuel as efficiently as they used to, so carbon monoxide is more readily released.
- Using machinery, like a propane generator or a gas-powered saw, in a poorly vented garage can be very dangerous. Sometimes people don’t think about this one because the garage is large enough that it seems to be ventilated better than it is.
- There’s a reason that barbeque grills are labeled for outdoor use only: they release a lot of carbon monoxide. Both charcoal and propane grills should only be used outdoors, and you should avoid the smoke from charcoal in particular as much as possible.
- Smoking tobacco releases carbon monoxide into the air, along with other potentially dangerous gases.
There are plenty of other sources, as well, but those are some common ones. To protect yourself and your family, make sure any areas where combustion occurs are well-ventilated, keep your HVAC equipment well-maintained and in good repair and invest in a home CO detector. They are inexpensive, and many are combined with a smoke detector, so you only need to buy one unit.
Annual service checkups are an important component of your HVAC system’s ongoing operation in Fullerton. Without these checkups, the system may not run properly. While there are some tasks you can perform yourself, most of the vital maintenance tasks need to be performed by a professional annually.
As you look for a contractor to perform your annual maintenance, make sure you find someone who will perform each of the most important tasks listed below for your system each year:
- Electrical Connections – These should be tightened, tested and replaced as necessary.
- Thermostat – A professional thermostat calibration ensures the system runs at the right temperature throughout the summer.
- Control Panel – The control panel is checked for error codes and recalibrated to ensure it continues running as intended for another year.
- Blower Parts – The fan and motor are checked and serviced as needed. Replacement parts are installed.
- Condenser Coils and Evaporator – Both are cleaned and checked for signs of wear. Any bent coils are repaired.
- Gas Connections – An inspection of your gas lines, if applicable, is made. Additionally, if you have electrical components, they will be checked for damage.
- Exchanger and Combustion Components – If you have a packaged system, these are checked for the entire system.
- Refrigerant Check – If you have a refrigerant filled air conditioning system, it will be checked to ensure levels are high enough for another summer.
- Air Filters – While you can do this yourself each month, a professional will check permanent and replaceable filters for wear and tear.
- Moving Parts – All moving parts are inspected, oiled, and checked for damage. If a part needs replacement it is done now to avoid future problems.
Good annual maintenance is necessary to keep your system running smoothly year round. While there are plenty of cleaning tasks you can perform each month, the most important tasks are those performed by your contractor.
If you are interested in learning more about how maintenance will be performed on your system, call your local contractor today.