Are Furnace Maintenance Plans Worth It?

Heating and cooling the home is crucial. As a homeowner, your environment must be both reliable and sustainable. Air-conditioning systems are important in the summer, but when that first breath of winter hits, it’s time to push up the thermostat. Who likes to shiver when you can feel the toasty warmth of your home? A trustworthy furnace will give any homeowner a sigh of relief when the windows start to fog from freezing temperatures. A furnace maintenance plan will give you the satisfaction of knowing that your furnace has been properly serviced, and won’t give you any problems. To start the process, give West-O-Plex Air Conditioning and Heating a call today at: 817-244-2511.

What does a home furnace do?

    A home furnace is a device used for central heating in a home. Most homes in North America and Europe utilize gas furnaces, though other sources of fuel include liquified petroleum gas, fuel oil, and rarely, coal and wood. Electricity and induction (a process whereby heat is applied by induction heating of metal) are two other methods utilized in furnace manufacture.

What would cause a furnace not to turn on?

To begin with, determine whether your furnace is a gas or combustion-fuel model. Older models typically are gas or combustion-fueled, while some newer furnaces have electronic ignition. If your furnace is an older model, check to see if the pilot light is out. If your older furnace has a pilot light that won’t stay lit, the thermocouple (a copper rod that the pilot flame heats up) may be loose or faulty, the pilot orifice may be clogged, the safety cutoff valve may be defective, or the pilot flame may be set too low.

If the problem lies with the thermocouple, the thermocouple will need to be replaced by a professional. Before attempting any further manipulation of the furnace, make sure the gas valve is turned off. You should also turn off the electric circuit-breaker that controls power to the furnace. You can clean a blocked orifice in your furnace with a thin piece of wire. Knock out any debris in the orifice where the pilot flame is usually alight.

In order to fix a low pilot flame, you will turn the flame adjustment screw. Consult your owner’s manual to locate this mechanism. You will need to achieve a steady flame of 1 ½ to 2 inches with no yellow in it. If the problem lies with fuel for your gas or oil-burning furnace, make sure the valve on the gas pipe is turned on.

If you suspect a furnace gas leak, immediately make plans to remedy the situation! Gas leaks are fatal, and normally occur in gas valves or furnace cracks. If you smell natural gas in your house or around your furnace, turn off the source of the gas by locating the gas valve and turning it, using a 12-inch or larger adjustable wrench. Turn the valve a quarter inch (¼) until the valve is crosswise to the pipe. If this is not possible, vacate the premises and call your fire department.

If your model is of the electronic ignition model-type, turn down the thermostat or use the on/off switch to reset the ignition control module. See your owner’s manual to determine whether you will then experience the sound of a spark, or watch the hot surface igniter glow. If the furnace won’t light or lights, but fails to remain lit, call a furnace repair technician.

Do You Need Furnace Replacement?

    How does a homeowner know when it is time to replace their furnace? The answer lies with a series of factors. If your furnace is over twenty years old, there’s a likelihood that the furnace no longer has optimum efficiency. If your furnace is energy efficient, that efficiency rating will translate into a lower electricity bill. Additionally, twenty-year-old furnaces are more likely to have an accumulation of dust and debris, which will negatively impact efficiency.

    Another factor to consider is furnace repairs. If your furnace is continuously in need of repair over a six month period, it’s a sign that you should replace your furnace. Replacing your furnace will assist with creating higher energy efficiency.

Does the Furnace Control Hot Water?

    Let’s define the difference between a furnace and a boiler. The furnace creates hot air which then circulates through the house through air ducts. A boiler often has a smaller furnace attached to it, which then heats up the water. Once the water has hit the boiling point, heat is distributed through the central heating system. Furnaces, and boilers are connected, and establish the purpose of heating your home.

Do You Need a Furnace to Have Central Air?

    The simple answer is that you have to have a furnace in order to have central air. A furnace uses fuel and air to create combustion, and thereby creates warmth. With a system of air ducts in place, this warmth can be funneled to connected rooms in the household. The thermostat regulates the distribution of warmth throughout the rooms by turning on and off once a certain temperature has been achieved.

How Do I Know if My Furnace Thermostat is Bad?

    If your thermostat is under or over heating your household, the problem may lie with your thermostat. Older thermostats, models of mercury or analogue, contain plastic parts which may become damaged. A visibly damaged older model, such as the one indicated, would need to be replaced. Opening up the thermostat may also reveal some clues. Does the interior of the thermostat contain a lot of dust, grease, or build-up? This could be the reason why the thermostat is malfunctioning.

    If there are any loose wires, or broken components inside or outside your thermostat, this could also be an indicator of the problem. Is the internal battery discharged? It’s possible.

Maintenance Tips

  • Change your air filter. You can find the dimensions on the side of your current air filter, which is labeled by Length x Width x Depth. Replace your air filter every 90 days.
  • Vacuum the area around the furnaces blower. This will reduce the amount of dust particles and allergens to be filtered in your furnace.For more maintenance tips, check out our corresponding post: West-O-Plex Heating Maintenance Tips
  • Looking for another path to energy efficiency? We recommend Armstrong’s Glass and Mirror. Armstrong’s Glass and Mirror is a Fort Worth glass installation and repair expert.

    All furnace problems can be resolved easily and to the homeowner’s satisfaction with a furnace maintenance plan. To start the process, give West-O-Plex Air Conditioning and Heating West-O-Plex Air Conditioning and Heating located in Fort Worth, TX, a call today at: _817-244-2511.