Routine furnace maintenance saves money

Routine furnace maintenance saves money

    I’m sitting here in my two-seat, diesel powered office thinking about the season. There are reminders everywhere; trees without leaves, frost covered grass, Christmas lights twinkling, my dog dressed up like a reindeer. The season which I wax eloquent about is, of course, the Heating Season! The time of year where furnaces break down in the middle of the night and this two seat office is my diesel powered efficiency apartment. Yes, I’m on call for your heating emergencies 24/7 all winter long.

    Now what I really want to talk about today is helping you avoid an emergency. No one likes to live in a cold house but when your heating system is not properly maintained, you better have some extra Snuggies laying around.
    All gas furnace manufacturers, e.g. Trane, Carrier, Bryant, Lennox, etc., require you to maintain your system to keep your warranty in good standing. Just like your vehicle requires regular maintenance so you won’t be stranded along the interstate waiting for a tow truck, your furnace needs to be tuned up every year so you won’t have to burn your kitchen table and chairs to stay warm.

    Here are some examples of the problem caused by a lack of maintenance.

    Rusted Burners

    The first example comes from a home in Mason, OH. These rusted burners are from a propane furnace. The burners rusted to the point where they would not light. The furnace shut down. No Heat. Cold House.

    Rusted Trane propane burners

    Dirty, Clogged Pilot

    This second example was in Lebanon, OH. This is a Bryant furnace with a standing pilot. After just one season of operation, dust and oxidation will cause a pilot flame to get weak. After another heating season, the burner crossovers have clogged. The crossovers act like a fuse which lights all the other burners. Weak pilot + clogged burner crossovers = a furnace which blows it’s own pilot out out. The homeowner tried to relight the pilot but it was too dirty to stay lit. No Heat. Cold House.

    Dirty furnace pilot

    Rusted Ribbon Burners

    Number three is from Springboro, OH. This is an old furnace which uses ribbon style burners. Old age and lack of maintenance has caused the burners to rust. On this type of furnace, rusty clogged burners will produce inefficient orange flames and delayed ignition. A furnace tune-up caught this one before there was an emergency. The homeowner decided to replace the furnace with a Trane 95% efficient furnace.

    Rusted Bryant ribbon burners

    Clogged Inshot Burners

    The fire department was called in this last example! The homeowner smelled gas and called 911. The gas furnace is in the laundry room and the burners were clogged with years of dryer lint. This can be a very dangerous situation! Burners that are this bad cause what we call delayed ignition. Homeowners call it an explosion from the furnace room. Luckily, no one was hurt. I was able to clean up the furnace and check for proper operation.

    In all these examples, the homeowners decided that having the furnace checked once a year is a good idea. How about you? How long has it been since your heating system had some attention? Remember, I’m on call 24/7 if you’d rather wait for an emergency!

    David Watkins

    David Watkins

    As a third generation HVAC professional, David Watkins grew up around all things heating and air conditioning. He is an expert in airflow and duct design and he leverages his math and science background to lead an HVAC team well-known for their technical capabilities.