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Why Should You Regularly Maintain Your Furnace?

Technician performing maintenance on a furnace - Williams Comfort Air Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & More

When the weather gets cold, Indianapolis homeowners don’t want to deal with a malfunctioning furnace. Luckily, furnace maintenance benefits the system as well as the homeowner. With regular furnace maintenance, the heating system works at its best over the long, cold winter season. 

The HVAC technicians at Williams Comfort Air have a good handle on what makes furnace maintenance worth your time. Our technicians discuss the most common preventable problems and how regular maintenance keeps those problems under wraps. When the cold winters in Indianapolis, Indiana roll around, your family stays warm because your furnace is well-maintained!

How Does the Furnace Work?

In your home, the furnace plays an important role in keeping you and your family comfortable during the winter months, but homeowners often don’t know how they perform the task. Furnace maintenance benefits become blurry when homeowners don’t know the basics, but these facts help to clear up the confusion.

The process begins with the thermostat, which sends a signal to the furnace to initiate a heating cycle when temperatures indoors drop below your desired set point. Furnace maintenance benefits include the thermostat for this reason. The furnace activates when the thermostat senses the temperature as cold—programmed by the homeowner. Air moves to the heat exchanger, is warmed by the burning of fuel, then moves to the blower motor and fan. These components circulate air through your home via the ducts and vents. 

Problems with any of the components in the furnace keep warm air from flowing throughout your home. Without proper maintenance, homeowners experience colder winters and more furnace malfunctions or breakdowns. The only way to protect the functionality of your furnace is with preventative maintenance by an experienced HVAC technician.

Preventable Furnace Problems

Along the way, warm air potentially gets held up if preventable problems arise. All parts of the furnace require maintenance to help ensure preventable problems don’t happen. If you come across any of these problems, you aren’t using furnace maintenance benefits to the fullest. 

  • Dirty filters. Though this problem doesn’t necessarily need an HVAC technician to fix, a dirty filter does cause airflow issues and lowers IAQ—indoor air quality. During a maintenance check, technicians take a look at the filter to see if needs changed. Because it’s such a small task, homeowners often forget to check the filters themselves, so maintenance ensures it gets changed at least once or twice a year.
  • Heat exchanger problems. Heat exchangers experience wear and tear over time without proper maintenance. The heat exchanger experiences cracks and breaks when left without maintenance, which is a dangerous issue because combustion byproducts can build up in your home, exposing your family. This issue is prevented when a technician finds problems early through maintenance, allowing for the necessary repairs or replacement.
  • Thermostat issues. Problems with the thermostat impact the entire system because the furnace relies on signals from the thermostat to operate. When the thermostat malfunctions, it keeps the furnace from turning on or running the necessary amount of time. Furnace maintenance benefits the thermostat because technicians ensure it properly communicates with the whole system.
  • Frayed blower belt. Blower belts are checked in regular maintenance visits to inspect the quality of the belt. Over time, the blower belt may fray or slip off the blower which produces a loud noise. When frayed, the belt no longer is able to effectively turn the blower motor to distribute the warm air into the home, leaving your family without the heat you need. 
  • System control problems. Furnaces use various controls to regulate gas pressure and consumption for safe and efficient operation. Furnace maintenance tests these control settings and allows for adjustments to improve performance and keep your household safe when the heating system is in use.
  • Strange sounds. Furnace maintenance benefits all parts of the system, which includes an all-around check to find the source of strange noises. Noises indicate problems with the mechanics, the airflow, or even a clogged filter. These problems range in severity, so it’s important to know the cause early. 
  • Frequent cycles. Furnaces turn on and off to regulate the temperature in your home. Normally, the thermostat tells the furnace when to run and when to stop so the space always maintains a comfortable temperature. When the furnace turns on and off too frequently, this is an issue called short cycling, which hinders system performance and efficiency.
  • Blower always runs. Additionally, if the blower never turns off, there is likely an issue with the limit switch or the thermostat. If the blower is always on, the energy efficiency of a furnace significantly drops. This raises the cost of your energy bill and often creates uncomfortable temperatures.
  • Yellow pilot light. Most importantly, preventative maintenance reduces the change of a yellow pilot light or a gas leak in older systems equipped with this component. The flame of the pilot light must be blue. If it’s yellow, a gas leak is present. Preventative maintenance checks pilot light condition and keeps your family safe from a gas leak.

Reasons Why Furnace Maintenance Benefits You

Furnace maintenance benefits homeowners in many ways because it takes care of problems before breakdowns occur. The common issues listed above are greatly reduced with proper maintenance. In general, heating system maintenance visits must be scheduled once a year to fully experience the benefits and increase the longevity of the system.

 

  • Proper airflow. Firstly, preventative maintenance ensures the airflow in your home stays constant throughout the winter. When furnaces experience problems, the warm air gets caught up in the system before it reaches the rooms in the house. This means during Indiana’s cold winters, you don’t feel the warmth the furnace produces. Furnace maintenance benefits the home because it keeps you warm when it matters most.
  • Safety. Next, yearly furnace maintenance makes sure the system is safe for use. Because the system deals with gas, the potential dangers are high. When maintained, problems with the gas valve, the pilot light, and other mechanics are dealt with on site. Going without maintenance opens up the door for easy-to-fix issues to become dangerous situations.
  • Fewer repairs. Furnace maintenance benefits also include fewer repairs. Technicians check all parts of the furnace during a maintenance check, which means they tune up parts when they need extra attention. With maintenance, component wear and tear aren’t neglected to the point of breaking because they are consistently checked for problems.
  • Time saver. Furnace breakdowns or malfunctions take time to fix, but proper maintenance keeps repairs and replacements to a minimum. This keeps you from having to fiddle around with furnace repairs, or experiencing a longer wait for furnace repairs during the busy winter season.
  • System longevity. Furnace maintenance benefits the longevity of the system as well. When all the parts work properly, the system itself has a longer lifespan due to reduced malfunctions. Service visits ensure the whole system is checked at least once during the year, which greatly impacts how well the system works over time. When problems are discovered, they are fixed quickly to prevent small problems from damaging the system long-term.
  • Air quality improves. Because filters are changed during maintenance visits, the air quality improves. Along with filter changes, HVAC technicians clean the entire system inside and out, which clears away any dust, dirt, or other materials. When the furnace is clean, it blows quality air into the home. 
  • Energy efficiency. Another benefit of furnace maintenance is the energy efficiency. When maintained, the energy efficiency of the furnace increases. A clean, well-maintained furnace uses energy more efficiently, which lowers your home’s impact on the environment.
  • Lower energy bill. In addition to helping the environment, energy efficiency also keeps your energy bill low. Energy bills drop significantly with proper preventative maintenance. Plus, the cost of repairs and replacements are limited. 
  • Manufacturer’s warranty. Finally, annual maintenance checks ensure you follow manufacturer warranty terms. Most manufacturers list annual maintenance in the terms and conditions of their warranties to ensure they only pay for unexpected breakdowns and repairs. Furnace maintenance benefits the homeowner because it helps them stay within the guidelines of the warranty, which means they’re covered when unexpected problems pop up.

 

Furnace Maintenance Benefits: What Homeowners Can Do

Along with professional maintenance visits, homeowners contribute to the functionality of their furnace. Here are some tips for homeowners to properly maintain their furnaces between visits from an HVAC professional.

  • Check filters. Check your furnace filters once a month to see if they need a change. Normally, manufacturers state the estimated amount of time you need to go between filter changes, but it’s good practice to check the filter once a month. 
  • Clean around the system. Professionals clean the system itself to reduce dust and dirt, but homeowners must clean around the system to make the most of the clean furnace. Furnace maintenance benefits the overall air quality, but with dust around the system the air quality continues to suffer. Also, keep stored items away from the system to ensure it receives the airflow it needs.
  • Dust regularly. Additionally, make sure the entire home stays relatively dust-free. Excess dust and dirt in the home gets blown around the air when the furnace circulates warm air, so eliminate extra air pollutants with regular cleaning.

Call Williams Comfort Air for Furnace Maintenance Benefits

Williams Comfort Air in Indianapolis, Indiana wants homeowners to stay warm this winter. With preventative maintenance, your furnace stays in top condition all season long. These furnace maintenance benefits are unbeatable when you think of the alternative—costly malfunctions and breakdowns!

Give us a call today to learn more about our services and to schedule your annual maintenance visit. Our qualified HVAC technicians are always standing by to help an Indianapolis family in need!

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