Servicing Your Furnace
A comfortable indoor climate is priceless! So be sure to maintain your furnace regularly. Begin by knowing which type of system you have:
Warm Air Furnace: Warm air furnaces are common and are powered by gas, oil, or electricity. A Blower Motor forces air through a Heat Exchanger and Filter. When the circulated air reaches the temperature you set by your thermostat, the blower turns off.
Forced Air System: Forced air systems heat uniformly to the 110-degree range. A forced air system that is designed effectively will feature outside ducts, as well as adjustable Supply Registers and a Return register.
Combustion Air System: The combustion air system delivers oxygen and removes gases from the furnace in order to produce heat. This type of furnace can produce carbon monoxide. So it is absolutely vital that a professional technician check everything on these systems to assure that they are working improperly.
Some system maintenance procedures are universal, regardless of the system type. The following tips may help you maintain your heating system, even between professional check-ups:
1. Check the draft hood above the opening in the furnace. Look for discoloration, soot, peeling paint, hair, dust or cobwebs.
2. Check the flue for deterioration. The flue is the metal pipe that extends from the furnace to the chimney or vent.
3. Check the chimney for blockage, or broken or crumbled mortar or bricks. Call for help immediately if your eyes tear or your throat burns when the furnace is on! The vents may be blocked.
4. If you see an oil cap when you check your furnace, be sure to keep it oiled. Occasionally lift the cover and add a few drops. Remember to check the belt. It's affordable and easily replaced.
Safety Concerns: Standing water on the floor near your unit is trouble! Make sure the floor is dry. Never store things, especially combustible things, near your heater. Call a contractor if the pilot or gas burner produces a steady yellow flame (implying improper combustion). It may need adjusting. Occasional orange-yellow or red streaks in a flame are normal. Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. (It can produce headache, tightness in the chest, burning and watering eyes, weariness, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, loss of muscular control). Immediately call for help if you experience any of these symptoms.
Take good care of your furnace, and it will reward you with pleasant warmth on those chilly winter days.