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Your Gas Furnace, does it need cleaning?

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/28/2007 | Home Improvement
Already we are into the fall season and the days and nights are getting cooler. All summer long, for most homeowners, the thought of the heating equipment was left behind and soon forgotten.

As soon as the weather changes and the temperature drops, we start thinking about the machine that keeps us warm during the cold nights of winter. No, we are not talking here about the coziness of a warm body next to ours...
The gas or oil furnace down the basement of your home has spent the summer waiting for the humans to re-activate it for the winter.

All of a sudden, we realize that maybe we should have it serviced before it breaks down during the coldest night of the year. Then the situation becomes a mad rush, an emergency. Every heating company out there becomes suddenly inundated with calls for service or maintenance.

Yes, every manufacturer of heating equipment recommends that every heating appliance be serviced once a year as a preventative measure.

It is a fact that a well oiled machine is less likely to break down when you least expect it. Also, if performed regularly, the maintenance will permit the service person to detect any abnormalities and bring about corrective measures.

Now days, the building codes have improved and will require that buildings be more energy efficient. This is good but on the other hand, houses are more air tight and could create problems for heating apparatus requiring air for combustion.

A good technician is trained to detect potential problems. Not everyone suspects the huge quantity of air required to support proper combustion of any type of appliance burning natural or propane gas as well as oil or wood. Your utility company and your service contractor are very familiar with these requirements and can help you determine if your air supply is adequate. You do not want to suffer a lack of air because the downside is the potential of producing carbon monoxide.

As a building owner, you need to be aware of these facts and be on the look out for anything that does not seem right.

Newer furnaces will not normally get that dirty in a year's time but the regular yearly verification is a must if you want to avoid any problem or surprise.

You may be asking yourself... What can I do myself to ensure proper operation of my equipment?

Good question!

You should ensure to check your filter every month and if you find it dirty, depending on the type you have, you may want to replace it if it is of the throw away nature. Providing that your filter is washable, you can remove it and wash it under clean warm water, let it dry and re-insert it in the furnace. Your service company can provide you with more specific instructions if you ask them.

This is important because it will not only provide you with adequate circulation of air, it will also save you a bundle in energy costs.

The next thing you can look after yourself, is the humidifier.
It is also an important ancillary piece of equipment. If well maintained, it will provide your family healthier and more comfortable air.

You do not want the humidifier to become a breathing ground for bacteria. It will also save you money on your heating bill. Air that is humid feels more comfortable and warmer than dry air. The effect will be that you will not require the thermostat to be set as high as without humidity.

On this final note, be healthy, warm and save a lot.