Should I get a furnace inspection?


Sep 18, 2017

Should I get a furnace inspection?

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You live in Northern Virginia. Getting to and from work every day is a traffic battle of the highest order. You have errands to run, people to meet, bills to pay — getting your furnace inspected isn’t exactly a high priority  for you right now, even if it is getting a little colder every night. Besides, furnace inspections are just an excuse to stick a homeowner with another invoice, right?

Wrong. Furnace inspections are crucial in order to make sure that your home’s heating system is safe and efficient. An annual maintenance check can prolong your unit’s life, cut your energy bills and even decrease potential health risks to your family.

U.S. Climate Data reports that the average monthly low temperature in Warrenton, Virginia, from October through May, is under 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Under 36 degrees! That’s an eight-month stretch when you’re probably going to need your furnace to work safely on a very regular basis. 

Without an annual furnace inspection, you’re flying blind for two-thirds of the year. You’re risking an expensive, and potentially dangerous, furnace repair.

Maybe you’re just not sure what happens during a furnace inspection. Not to worry. That’s why we broke down exactly what you can expect the pros to check when you get a Warrenton furnace inspection from CroppMetcalfe.

Getting started
The 5-star technician who services your home heating unit starts by asking you questions about the system’s performance. The most common concern is comfort — the furnace doesn’t seem like it’s actually heating your house. 

A noisy system is also a familiar problem, and heating bills that seem unusually high are another red flag. 

Once the technician has a solid handle on the problems you’re experiencing, the next step is conducting a visual inspection to make sure the unit is safe. 

Proper Voltage
In general, there are three types of thermostat systems: millivoltage (around 0.75 volts), low voltage (around 24 volts) and line voltage (around 120 or 240 volts). The technician can check to make sure the voltage is running properly through your system.

Blower Assembly
Dirty blower wheels reduce air flow, which leads to longer operating time and increased energy cost. A colder house and, after time, compressor failure will let you know if you are having blower issues. 

Condenser Coil Inspection
When your condenser coils are dirty, your refrigerant pressure will raise higher than needed. Your electric bill starts to go up, too. Our 5-star technician cleans your coils to ensure your equipment is running at maximum efficiency to save you time and money.

Electric Strip Heaters
Electric strips are wires in your unit that use electricity to create heat. While they’re not used very often (they require more energy), your furnace depends on these strips to perform certain tasks. Because the furnace uses the electric strip heaters so infrequently, it’s important you have technicians check if they are safe to use.

Proper Refrigerant
Low or high refrigerant charge can often go unnoticed. Not only can a dip in refrigerant increase operating costs, but an improper charge can cause the compressor to shut down. In order to check the refrigerant charge, our technician reads your pressure gauges to measure temperature differential. This allows us to determine electrical demand on the compressor, which should lower your energy bills.

Visible Leaks
There are  variety of reasons why your furnace may start leaking. Some common culprits are the dehumidifier, air conditioner, venting system or nearby plumbing. To diagnose exactly why your furnace is leaking, it’s best to consult a professional.

Pulleys & Belts
Damaged belts and pulleys can make irritating noises. They can also end up costing you unnecessary money. If your pulleys and belts aren’t tight enough, they may slip and prevent the fan from turning properly — giving you less hot air for your money.

Vibration Noise
In most cases, loose parts are to blame for those annoying vibrating sounds coming from your furnace. Some popular loose parts can be the circulation fan, access panels and framing. When we service your furnace, we tighten all screws and bolts to make sure we secure the unit.

Clean Indoor Coil
One of the first things an HVAC technician will check is the system airflow, since this has a great impact on the quality and degree of heat. Our Warrenton furnace inspections include a check for and cleaning of any dirt, dust, mold and other things that obstruct proper airflow. 

Clean Filters
Dirty filters make your system work harder and waste your money. Change your filters (at minimum) every three months. Otherwise, dust and dirt can back up in the unit, leading to expensive maintenance repairs (or system failure). 

Fan Limit Switch
A fan limit switch is the main safety mechanism in your furnace. When the furnace grows too hot, the limit switch shuts off the burner. Your furnace should be inspected annually to make sure the fan limit switch is working properly and keeping your family safe.

Thermostat
According to the Department of Energy, turning your thermostat back 7°F to 10°F for eight hours a day can save up to 10 percent of your energy costs. Programming a thermostat can be very tricky! Our 5-star technicians can help you master your thermostat to offer the precise control you desire for your home's atmosphere, anytime during the day or evening.

Heat Exchanger
Your furnace’s heat exchanger separates the combustion process from your breathing air. Without it, your family could be breathing in deadly gases (such as carbon monoxide). Because of this health risk, you must have your heat exchangers visually inspected on a regular basis.

Motors & Lubricate
Many manufacturers permanently lubricate and seal their motors, requiring no further maintenance. If your furnace’s motor has oil ports, however, a technician should lubricate it annually in order for it to work at its peak performance.

Condensate Drain
If your drains are clogged, your furnace’s humidity level will increase. To avoid the extensive water damage this can cause (and the accompanying unwanted furnace repair calls), we recommend regular inspection.

Electrical Connections
It’s important to tighten all electrical connections and measure your motor’s voltage and current. Without this check, faulty electrical connections can cause your operation to run unsafely and damage other components.

Burners
Whether fueled by gas or oil, a burner creates the heat required to power furnaces. If a burner’s fan is blocked or has a dirty air filter, this can cause the burner to turn off and on more frequently than usual. An experienced technician can troubleshoot this problem and solve it the right way before you need furnace repair.

Contactors & Relays
Contactors or relays are essentially switches. When used in your furnace, they turn on high-voltage components (such as motors or compressors). It’s important that a trained technician checks the transformer to ensure that the switch is providing the correct voltage.

Schedule your furnace inspection today
Need a professional to take a look at your furnace? We’re the Warrenton furnace inspection experts. Call CroppMetcalfe at 1-877-740-6657 now or schedule a service appointment online