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Preparing for Winter

Here’s your monthly visit from The Furnace Doctor® ! This month, believe it or not, we’re going to discuss tips on preparing for the winter.

An annual safety and energy check should be performed on all heating units. Many companies offer fall specials, such as ours that runs $89.50 to have the furnace thoroughly checked with a 21 point inspection. This ensures that belts, filters, and thermostats are all in good condition.

The primary function of a proper furnace check is to protect the safety of your family. A complete furnace safety and energy check is necessary to confirm that the heat exchanger, or firepot, as it is also referred to, is not leaking combustion by-products into your home. Cracks or holes in a heat exchanger will allow the by-products of combustion to pass into the ductwork and be distributed throughout the building. Note: Boilers with leaking seals can leak carbon monoxide!

Under normal circumstances however, boilers can be repaired. These conditions can be extremely dangerous and should be remedied immediately. Should your furnace show signs of leakage during the inspection, ask the technician to show you the cracks or holes. If he/she cannot visibly show you the cracks, ask for a second opinion from that company, another company, or from your gas utility.

If a bad heat exchanger is definitely confirmed, you have several options. Simply doing nothing is not an option! The heat exchanger or the furnace must be replaced, no matter how small the hole or crack is. Furnace heat exchanger warranties range from 1 year to a lifetime. Most are in the 10-20 year range. So, if yours is under ten years old, the heat exchanger is most likely still covered under the warranty. In this case, your only expense would be a labor charge. If the heat exchanger is out of warranty, the best and most “bang for the buck” solution is to replace the entire furnace.

During the safety check, we also check the operation of the safety controls which prevent fire, explosions and damage to the furnace and adjust the burners to optimize their operating efficiency. The technician will also clean out and turn on the humidifier, check the belt and filter, and replace them if necessary. He will likewise check on the water heater thermocouple, burners and venting.

The fall is also a good time to have your ducts cleaned and sanitized. This will help to relieve the breathing and dust problems associated with asthma and allergies within your home.

Next month’s article will cover purchasing a new furnace and what to look and ask for. If you would like additional information or if you have any questions, please feel free to call FLAME Heating, Cooling and Electrical toll free at 888-234-2340. Visit our web site @ www.ffold.awcsite.info.

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