Caring For Your Heating And Cooling Systems

Before each heating season you should make sure that your furnace is in good working order so that you can eliminate unexpected costly repairs or even replacement. 

Call a qualified heating and cooling technician to clean and evaluate you system at least every two years. While the heating contractor is there you should have him explain the operation of your furnace so you know how it operates and the needed maintenance required. This is a great way to be sure that you’ll have a relatively repair free heating season.

Chimneys, flues and vents should be inspected for leakage and for blockage by creosote or debris. Make sure they are not loose or disconnected to avoid carbon monoxide. Old or never cleaned furnaces are one of the most common causes of carbon monoxide leakage and deaths each year! Homeowners with mid-efficiency furnaces installed between 1987 and 1993 should have them inspected for cracking or separating.

Your furnace needs to be inspected to uncover leaks in the heat exchanger, soot, rust, corroded contacts and frayed wires. Heat pumps and oil-fired furnaces require yearly tune-ups. Manufacturers recommend having your gas-fired furnace cleaned every other year.

When contractors inspect the furnace they should do the following:

Check to see if the system is getting plenty of combustion and air and chimney draft.

Check the air for carbon monoxide.

Clean the burner and heat exchanger.

Adjust the burner flame to the right size and color.

Change the furnace filter.

Check the compressor and fan.

Check the thermostat for sticking and proper calibration.

Another small tip is to caulk the hole where the thermostat wires come through the wall as a draft could pick trick it into thinking the room is warmer or colder than it really is.

Unfortunately the heating industry has one of the worst reputation for consumer rip-offs and scams. So be sure you check out the contractor’s reputation with the Better Contractors Bureau, before you sign any contract! If you select a B.C.B. member you will have the peace of mind to know that members must subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics and be properly insured and if any member is found to take advantage of a customer they will be expelled!

Don’t be scared by the many phony tactics con artists use. Some of theses con artists take advantage of homeowners especially seniors giving them technical jargon that no one can understand. They often tell them that their house may blow up if a repair or new furnace isn’t installed immediately, while others have been known to actually damage the furnace themselves when the homeowner isn’t around. If it isn’t a true emergency then tell the contractor to give you a quote and you will get back to them. The R. G. & E. will be glad to come out and check any furnace for free, especially if you think that you smell gas. Ask if they are a member of the B.C.B., as it will forewarn them that you are aware of the bureau and not someone to be taken advantage of.

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