As we step into February, the grip of winter still lingers, but it’s worth turning our attention to the imminent arrival of spring on March 20. While the idea of heating your home might not be at the forefront of your thoughts, ensuring that your boiler or furnace is in top-notch condition is crucial to keeping you warm through the remaining winter days.
For a quick recap of the purpose of each unit, we borrow the definitions from the U.S. Department of Energy:
- Furnaces heat air and distribute the heated air through the house using ducts. They can be gas- or oil-fired.
- Boilers heat water, and provide either hot water or steam for heating. Steam is is distributed via pipes to steam radiators, while baseboard radiators or radiant floor systems distribute hot water or can heat the air via a coil. There are gas boilers and oil boilers.
Prepare for winter before it gets cold
Regardless of what type of heating system you depend on, it needs regular maintenance to not only prevent breakdowns but also ensure you maximize energy savings. Scheduling an annual service appointment with a trained technician can catch small issues before they become big problems, boost your system’s efficiency and longevity, and eliminate any safety concerns.
Here are a few important checks that your service technician will perform to help your system run like new:
- Inspect all air vents and flues and clear out any blockages to ensure free air flow.
- Ensure the water level is at least the minimum for operation, examine the source of any leaks if the level is too low, and conduct repairs if needed.
- Examine the overflow pipes for signs like dripping which could indicate the pressure release valve should be replaced.
- Wash the fireside surface with clean water and a mild detergent. Note: if you do this yourself, make sure to add a thin coating of mineral oil to the boiler and check for any residual debris.
- Remove the burner and wash the mesh. Reinstall and dry the burner with the fan airflow. Your licensed tech will know the importance of not ever firing a wet burner.
- Replace the gaskets, igniter, and flame rod.
- Remedy any signs of poor water quality which can make the performance of your boiler gradually deteriorate.
- Look for signs of corrosion, test and replace dead and broken fuses.
- Clean the condensate trap and check for leaks.
- Use a calibrated analyzer to adjust the boiler’s combustion following a system restart.
If a furnace heats your home, foregoing annual maintenance is asking for problems. Compared to buying a new furnace, servicing your heating system is cheap. The fact is a system that is not cleaned and inspected on a yearly basis can wear itself out quickly. That means it may simply stop working or, worse, subject you to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
In just a few hours, your hired heating expert will complete the following steps:
- Clean the combustion chamber (after turning the system off)
- Inspect the flue pipe
- Replace the oil filter
- Change the air filter
- Adjust the burner and test efficiency
- Clean floor vents
Let’s make sure your heating system doesn’t throw you an unwanted surprise this winter. By conducting furnace and boiler maintenance now, you will stay toasty even when temperatures nosedive.
Contact us at Gervais Mechanical Services to schedule an appointment.
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