As the weather turns cooler at the beginning of the fall season, in the HVAC world we begin to turn our attention from the air conditioners to the heaters. You may have seen or heard many companies recommend having your furnace cleaned and prepped for the coming winter. What’s the big deal?
Why care if your furnace is dirty if it’s working okay and doing its job?
The build-up of dust and dirt in your home’s heating system could be endangering the health of your family. It could very well be hurting you in the wallet as well.
We have identified four serious risks you face when you don’t perform important fall furnace maintenance.
1. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The heat exchanger in your furnace is one of the most important components in the system. It’s job is to remove the dangerous gases that are the result of the combustion process by venting them out of the house.
Because of the change in temperature of the furnace during each cycle, the ever expanding and contracting heat exchanger can develop cracks, allowing deadly carbon monoxide (CO) gas to escape into the building. This gas has no odor or color, and is undetectable to the human eye. Those cracks may go unnoticed if you’re not having the furnace system inspected annually… resulting in a potential deadly situation.
2. Indoor Air Quality
Proper furnace maintenance is necessary to prevent the air filter to become clogged with debris, dust, or mold. Once the filter is clogged, it can no longer keep the particles from becoming airborne in your home. The result is the circulation of them throughout your home along with the heat.
If you’re wondering why there is suddenly more dust around the house right after the furnace kicks on for the first time in the fall? It’s a short leap to the conclusion that if those particles are in the air and landing on your furnace and other surfaces, your family is breathing them.
Is it any wonder why people suddenly start getting sick when “flu season” hits? The health of your family members that have breathing difficulties such as asthma and allergies could actually be in danger. The cost of having your system cleaned is a small price to pay to keep them healthy.
3. Variance in Temperatures
Does the temperature fluctuate around different parts of your home? If so, you are probably experiencing “thermostat wars” among family members as one room is too cool, the next is too warm.
These temperature variances can be caused by your furnace’s blower motor not moving enough air throughout the home because it’s covered by a coating of grime.
You may also have a calibration problem with your thermostat, or holes in air ducts allowing that valuable heated air to escape where it’s not supposed to go.
Having your system inspected by an expert HVAC technician can uncover problems that are relatively simple and inexpensive to fix, before they become big (expensive) problems.
4. System Breakdowns
Most home heating systems are designed to last 15, maybe 20 years with proper care and maintenance. Just like with an automobile, neglect causes unnecessary, increased wear and tear on parts of your HVAC system and may cause it to fail long before its normal life expectancy. When dirt builds up on moving parts, or inside the system impeding air flow, you’re asking for trouble sooner than later.
When you have an expert HVAC service tech inspect your furnace, he will be able to spot small problems that lead to bigger problems, or even total system failure.
Murphy’s Law says that total failure will happen at night or on a weekend, where you’ll pay a premium with most HVAC contractors for emergency service.
Failing to regularly maintain your HVAC system with routine inspections, tune-ups and safety checks may be costing you in ways you may not be aware of.