If you had problems with your furnace over the past winter, the problem might be due to lack of maintenance. If you don't have your furnace cleaned by a heating contractor every year, your furnace could stop working as well and even shut down completely. Here's a look at two parts of the furnace a heating contractor can clean so that your furnace keeps working safely and optimally throughout a cold winter.
Dust can accumulate in the blower, especially if you forget to change the filter when it's due. The blower gets a lot of work during the year because it also operates when you run your air conditioner if you have a central AC unit. The blower could have dust and grime built up on it before the heating season even starts.
The blower is a fan that is controlled by the blower motor. When the blower gets grimy and dusty, it's hard for it to turn. The motor can overheat and burn out, and this causes your furnace to stop blowing out air. When the motor overheats, the furnace might even shut down as a safety precaution, and then your furnace won't work at all.
Fortunately, the contractor can clean the entire blower assembly so it is free of dust, grime, and debris and ready for a season of heating. You probably want the blower cleaned out before winter begins, but if you forget, you can have it done any time. Cleaning the blower is a better option than waiting until it gets so dirty that your furnace breaks down and leaves you shivering in the cold.
The combustion area of the furnace gets coated with soot and corrosion from acidic water vapor and gases. It's one of the dirtiest areas of your HVAC system, and it needs to be cleaned out regularly. One way to know if your furnace has dirty burners is to look at the flame. A steady blue flame indicates clean burners, while a flickering yellow flame indicates soot and corrosion buildup.
The burners are an important part of the combustion area to clean, but the heating contractor will clean all the parts that get exposed to soot, such as the flame sensor, pilot, and ignitor. The contractor might use a wire brush to scrape off soot and corrosion and then pull the debris out of the furnace with a vacuum.
Failing to keep the combustion area clean can lead to a variety of problems. Your furnace won't work efficiently, and it might even shut down. If soot covers parts that control the flame, the control panel in the furnace might shut the furnace down to prevent an accumulation of gas.
Sometimes, gas can accumulate before the burners ignite if the combustion area is dirty. That can cause puffs of soot to shoot out of the furnace and create a mess in your basement or home.
All these problems can be prevented by hiring a heating contractor to clean the combustion area at least once a year. If you don't do it as a form of preventative maintenance on a yearly schedule, you might need to have your furnace cleaned as an emergency repair when the furnace breaks down.