Now that the leaves are falling in Calgary and the crisp fall wind is beginning to blow, it’s time to start thinking of getting your furnace system serviced. Most of the newer homes in Calgary have both a furnace and a boiler and they both require a yearly check up. Get this done now so that both units will be in good condition to heat your home and withstand Calgary’s cold winter temperatures.
Tom Kerber of Canyon Plumbing informed us that this is the perfect time to be looking at getting your boiler/ furnace inspected. Service providers are not as busy this time of year and dealing with furnace issues when it’s warm is far easier than when it is -20 outside! There are usually several items that need to be checked for function and reliability, as well as serviced, cleaned and adjusted. Tom also informed us that some extended warranties will be void if yearly maintenance is not routinely performed by a licensed professional.
Yearly maintenance is cost effective, quick and will extend the life of your furnace, saving you time and money. When maintaining your boiler and furnace, it is important to ensure that they are clean and safe – At all times!
ATCO Gas offers an annual furnace inspection at no cost. Phone them at 403-245-7888 to make an appointment. If they find anything wrong with your furnace or boiler be sure to check Who to Call for a list of quality, licensed heating technicians. Be sure to get this simple maintenance done before the cold weather sets in and your service professional is booked up, so you can spend this winter worry free in the comfort of your toasty home.
Here are some general furnace and boiler maintenance steps that your service provider should be doing. It is strongly suggested that you hire a professional when doing yearly checks, as they know how to handle the different parts and what to look for. This is with the exception of changing your furnace filter of course!
Furnace Air Filter
This is important to change more often than just during your yearly service check, 3 months is usually the recommended change time. See our blog post on Allergy Proofing our home for more information on air filters and what you should be putting back in your system to receive the best air quality for your home.
Cross Connection Valve Recertified
If you have a boiler you will have a cross connection valve. The City of Calgary requires you to have this inspected once a year. This valve ensures that the water in your boiler system, that contains glycol, will never mix with the water supply in your home. If you have a service professional at your home ensure you get this done at the same time, as this is required to be performed by a licensed plumber.
This is where the heat is generated, by igniting fuel and air together. More often than not soot can build up and begin to corrode the walls of the chamber.
Inspect this pipe for a carbon monoxide leak. Patch up any small holes you find and replace the entire pipe if you find larger ones.
Remove the blower and clean the blades with a small vacuum brush. If it is not possible to clean it thoroughly, don’t clean it at all, as it could be thrown off balance if not done properly. In older furnaces the blower is connected to the motor by a belt that may need occasional adjusting or replacing.
In a gas furnace this is what creates the heat. The burner tubes should be properly vacuumed and the burner gates must be adjusted so that the correct ratio of fuel to air is being let in.
Once you turn the furnace back on and activate the burners, inspect the color of the flame. If it is not a solid shade of blue that most likely means that your burners are not completely clean. Be sure to not breathe on the flame while you are inspecting it, as the extra oxygen can make it turn yellow. This is specifically something you need to call a professional to come look at and adjust for you.
This can become coated with residue over time that will prevent your furnace from lighting. The sensor can be removed carefully and lightly cleaned with an emery cloth.
Hot surface igniters
These are what heat up the air and fuel in the combustion chamber. It’s very important not to accidentally touch the igniter, as it is extremely fragile. To clean, blow on it lightly through a straw to remove the dust.
These are dust magnets, attracting a collection of food scrapes, pet hair and other airborne poarticles. Having your vents clogged up reduces the efficiency of your furnace and may cause you to overuse your furnace because the hot air is not coming out properly. When you are cleaning if you notice any rust forming on the bottom of the vent, it may be time to replace it.