How Furnace Maintenance Can Prevent Repairs This Winter 

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Newer homeowners are often surprised to discover that the majority of furnace repairs are preventable. Regular maintenance of your home’s heating system can lengthen the life of your furnace and it’s components, saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars in years to come. If a mid-winter furnace repair call this year doesn’t sound like much fun, then you should consider having your system cleaned or scheduling a maintenance call now to avoid any unexpected furnace failures this winter.

Furnace Cleaning and Inspection

There are several parts within your furnace that can fail due to the simple issue of carbon or dust build-up. That’s because the sensors and equipment used in modern heating systems are designed to be sensitive to inefficient operating conditions. This keeps you safe from fires and other issues, as well as ensures your air quality and utility bills stay within a healthy and reasonable range.

Sometimes, all that’s needed to maintain your furnace will be a simple cleaning and inspection of the internal components. Only a licensed expert should attempt to perform furnace maintenance however, as modern furnaces contain several complex and potentially dangerous parts that transfer, convert, pressurize, and burn fuel.

A trained professional can assess the condition of your system and use the proper tools to clean several of the sensitive parts and sensors to keep your heat on all winter. Cleaning and inspections are generally recommended on an annual basis or as soon as possible if any issues are detected.

Sensor, Valve, and Component Replacement

By inspecting and replacing sensors and others components in your heating system on a prescribed basis, your furnace repair expert can prevent the majority of issues you’d otherwise eventually be paying a repair bill for. That’s because sensors often gradually decline in function or show signs of intermittent failure before eventually suddenly failing to work at all.

One example of this is found in the flame and rollover sensors within your system. They are designed to detect when the flames created by your system are being produced as expected and when there’s an issue with either excessive or insufficient flame.


As carbon debris naturally builds upon these sensors, they will fail to detect the flame metrics they’re designed to detect and report to your furnace’s mainboard that there’s a problem. If all works as it should, this will result in your heat not working. If the board happens to fail as well and doesn’t shut the system down, it could even leave you with an even worse problem.

There are several other components that function similarly, with safety measures and valves that detect and prevent issues. These include heat exchangers, gas lines and valves, and electronic switches and components. All of these items need to be inspected annually, as cleaning or replacing them on a regular basis can prevent their failure and keep your system functioning safely.

Furnace Diagnostic Check-Ups

Modern furnaces use a mainboard with electronic chips to monitor the overall operation and safety of your heating system. This board gathers and sends data from and to your system’s motor, heat exchanger, and other parts to keep everything working properly. These boards also communicate with your thermostat to keep your heat at the desired temperature.

You may notice lights blinking in various series on this board if your furnace is in a dark room or you look through the slots. These lights let your technician know which area of the furnace is having an issue when there’s something wrong with your heating.

Sometimes mainboards need replaced or inspected, as all electronic components are prone to eventual failure. By having an expert check the diagnostic codes within your board, you can save your furnace from potentially costly repairs in the future, as specific faulty or failing parts can often be identified using the codes.

Safety Measures to Keep Your Furnace Healthy

Aside from changing your filter in accordance with your system’s specifications, there’s more that goes into heating system maintenance to keep your home or building safe. Over time, gas lines, valves, and gaskets can crack due to changing temperatures and the inflexibility of materials used. This can present various safety issues, including gas leaks, flame extending into inappropriate areas, and fumes collecting in your home.

While smaller leaks may not be detected by residents and homeowners, your local heating system technician can detect such leaks using commercial tools to identify any areas of concern. Having your system checked for leaks once a year is a good idea, as fire safety and air quality are two major concerns for health and occupant safety.

Signs Your Heating System Needs Maintenance

Yearly maintenance is recommended for most heating systems, as parts need to be cleaned and inspected regularly to prevent future major repairs. Sometimes a heating system will need inspected sooner than planned, however. This is the case for any home with unusual odors, sounds, or functioning coming from the heating equipment.

Watch for unusual odors around your system or throughout your house to know if you have any gas leaks. Sulfur is added to the naturally odorless gas used by most heating systems, so you may notice a rotten egg-like smell if you have a moderate or severe leak. You may also detect burnt or dusty smells if your system is in need of a cleaning.

If your heating system shuts off more often than it should or fails to reach the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat within an acceptable time, you likely have an issue with a sensor or other internal heating component. This is referred to as short-cycling, and it warrants a call for maintenance or inspection, as well.

To prevent an unexpected failure within your heating system this winter, consider giving the experts at 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning a call today. This will put you right on track to enjoying a warm home or office all season and help you avoid any last-minute repairs. Having regular maintenance performed on your furnace is vital to your home’s safety as well as your budget.

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