What to Expect From a Routine Furnace Inspection by an HVAC Technician

Published on: November 14, 2013

A furnace inspection is preventive medicine against the unexpected, the uncomfortable and the unsafe during the coming heating season. There are really two times when furnace problems tend to show up. One is during an annual furnace inspection from a qualified heating contractor with the expertise to spot potential trouble while it is still a minor fix. The other is on the coldest night of the winter when the system suddenly shuts down and strands you in a freezing house waiting for an emergency service call. A furnace inspection by a trained HVAC technician only takes an hour or so but the benefits and peace of mind can last all winter. This is what takes place:

  • Check the vent pipe all the way to the exterior for obstructions
  • Analyze combustion gases and compare to manufacturer’s specs
  • Verify air seal of blower access door and free air passage through intake grills and louvers
  • Inspect heat exchanger for cracks and corrosion — a critical safety check
  • Check burner ignition, quality of burner flame and operation of flame sensor
  • Verify proper function of condensate collection and drainage system; clean the condensate drain and trap and refill the trap with water
  • Examine the blower fan for dust and dirt accumulation; test the amperage draw on the blower motor and compare to specs
  • Check internal wiring for corrosion or deterioration
  • Test thermostat for accurate temperature reading and calibrate, if necessary
  • Start the system and check the temperature rise; the difference between the temperature of air returning to the furnace and supply air leaving the furnace, and compare to manufacturer ratings
  • Check for presence of carbon monoxide gas in supply airflow.

Because a furnace produces high temperatures and potentially dangerous combustion gases, it is not the place for do-it-yourself procedures. However, one item on the maintenance list is an exception: monthly filter changes. A dirty or clogged air filter downgrades system efficiency, reduces household comfort and costs you money in increased operating costs. If you do not know how to change the filter yourself, ask the HVAC tech conducting the inspection to show you.

Ready to schedule an annual furnace inspection? Contact us to find a contractor in your area of the Southeast United States.

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