Furnace maintenance assures reliability and fewer expenses
(NC) When it comes to our homes, there are countless things we enjoy spending money on. Chances are, however, that heating and AC systems aren't on the list – and the money it costs to maintain that machinery is likely nowhere at all on the pleasure-purchase radar.
But it's an important investment for reliable home comfort, says the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI). “These are complex systems, yet they are hidden away in a basement leading most homeowners to think they don't need to worry about them,” says David Terlizzi, an HRAI technical advisor. “But they do.”
Heating and air conditioning systems are the workhorses of a home, and they can break down or perform poorly – pushing up utility costs, causing physical discomfort, and possibly even posing a health risk. Regular maintenance helps prevent this, Terlizzi points out.
Homeowners can do their bit by replacing their furnace filter every one to three months – one of the best ways to increase the life of your furnace. It sounds simple, yet many people fail to regularly replace filters. Or they do it improperly, and an improperly placed filter can shut down your entire heating system. A filter left in place for too long becomes clogged with particles and negatively impacts airflow. This forces a furnace to run less efficiently, driving up costs and adding to the wear and tear of the system.
With the power off, homeowners can also hose down their outdoor AC condenser to clean out debris – ideally every spring and fall. A regular water hose will do the trick, ensuring the outdoor condenser works at its optimum. Homeowners can also clear out the nearby area, making sure there are no shrubs or debris close by. The cleaning of the indoor a-coil in the duct above the furnace should be left to professionals and inspected yearly.
The rest, says Terlizzi, is best left to the experts. The ideal time to call in someone for the AC unit is the spring, when the temperature is above 21 degrees C. Any lower, and the unit will give out false readings. Your furnace can be checked any time of year – a technician just needs to be able to turn it on – however setting a time before the heating season begins is recommended.
What is most important is to call in a qualified tradesperson with the correct licenses. If uncertain, you can find a qualified contractor at www.hrai.ca/mycontractor
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