Servicing: Lake Tahoe - Truckee & Neighboring Areas
Why get an annual furnace Safety inspection if the heat works?
This is what we provide with our “10 Point Safety Inspection”
1) Safety test for carbon monoxide (CO) 2) Check for hazardous debris in the chimney and flue. 3) Clean air filters and re-install, check coils. 4) Check thermostat operation. 5) Check the thermal safety circuits. 6) Check ignition and gas pilot safety system and clean as required. 7) Clean burners and set for proper combustion. 8) Check gas piping to furnace 9) Check motors and fans 10) Perform required adjustments
1) Safety test for carbon monoxide (CO)
Top portion of unit is Heatexchanger
The burning of natural gas or propane produces by-products, including water vapor and carbon monoxide. Although, the furnace heat-exchanger is made of corrosion resistant steel, they are not corrosion proof. The moist by-products in the stainless steel heat-exchanger cause corrosion. The performance of the heater dictates the rate of moisture and corrosion. I have seen new furnaces corroded in as little as one year because of poor heater performance. A corroded heat-exchanger will leak dangerous carbon monoxide into your home. Our Technician will measure for CO in your home and inspect the heat-exchanger for leaks.
2) Check for hazardous debris in the chimney and flue.
Restricted CO Migrates Out
Since the flue pipe and or chimney carry by-products, including, carbon monoxide out of the furnace. It is important to have these passage ways safety inspected. A partial restriction, leaks, insufficient oxygen and animal nests in these passage ways can still enable your heat to work. The furnace will operate with poor combustion. As illustrated to the left, these conditions cause air-pollution, premature heat-exchanger failure and carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Technician will assure proper flue and/or chimney operation.
3) Clean air filters and re-install, check coils.
Most home owners are aware of their air filter. I am often asked how often the filter should be changed. The answer shall vary from one customer to another depending on the traffic in the home. A high traffic home with pets, the filter may need to be changed once a month, whereas, vacation homes may only need to change the filter once a year. Some new furnaces and systems that also have air-conditioning have coils in the conditioned air flow. These coils can collect dirt and restrict the air supply. Operating a furnace with a dirty filter or coil restricts the conditioned air flow through the furnace thus, overheating a safety high temperature cut-out. The fan will still run giving you heat. However, this condition causes burner short cycle that is energy expensive, puts wear on the ignition system and a liability on the safety controls. We will inspect for unusual air flow, restricted ducts and clean filters to insure proper air flow through furnace.
Air-Conditioning Coil Gets Dirty
Supply Air Regerster-No Filter
Air-Handler or Furnace Air Filter on Bottom
Return Air Filter Grill
4) Check thermostat operation.
Older thermostats containing mercury and a bimetal are dependable, but will not operate the furnace as efficient or achieve a consistent comfort level as well, as the newer electronic programmable thermostats. Bimetal-mercury thermostats respond to temperature changes only down to about 3 or 4°F. This will make the room to hot before the heater shuts off. These thermostats incorporate and energize a small electric heater in the thermostat which heats up the thermostat’s slow responding bimetal. The heat anticipator is seldom set properly and does not provide near the comfort level or provide the efficiency of an electronic thermostat control. Today’s electronic thermostats have virtually solved the complications with that arose from the old bimetal- mercury thermostats and some earlier model electronic thermostats where you had to change the batteries once a year and give you more options depending on your lifestyle. Replacing your old thermostat can give you a better comfort level, save energy, furnace life, batteries and help keep the environment mercury free. Our trained Service Technician will explain your thermostat zoning options and provide you with solutions that fit your lifestyle.
Electronic Programmable Thermostat
5) Check the thermal safety circuits.
Auto-reset Limit Switch
Because furnaces use a fuel they are required, and rightfully so, to have a series of thermal safety switches, in the event any of the furnace fan components fail. These safety switches consist of two types, auto-reset and onetime fuse that shut down the unit’s main gas valve. Often I have found a furnace cycling on an auto-reset safety, unbeknown to the home owner, giving the home owner heat. The auto-reset safety is not designed for repeated use; it soon fails hence, expectantly blowing a onetime fuse safety. Now you have no heat and multiple reasons for furnace failure.
We will test all the auto-reset safeties to make sure they are not cycle ling the main unit’s gas valve as should the thermostat. Also, simulate component failure and check function of individual thermal safeties.
Onetime fuse saftey
Manual-Reset High Limit Safety
6) Check ignition and gas pilot safety system and clean as required.
Honeywell Direct Spark Ignition
It is important to have the gas pilot safety system tested and confirmed that the safety circuit is functioning properly. This safety circuit provides the main gas valve does not open without the presents of a pilot flame. Dust build up on the pilot orifice, which occurs while the heater is out of operation, can cause a weak pilot providing erratic operation of the pilot safety system. Our trained Technician will be able to inspect for normal pilot burn and test function of pilot safety system.
Hot Surface Igniter
7) Clean burners and set for proper combustion.
The older inefficient furnaces with natural draft log type burners get dirty from a corroding heat-exchanger. Although, your heater will still provide heat it also provides poor combustion. Most of the newer heaters, built after 1993, the gas and air mixture is induced into the burner compartment. The burners do not collect dirt but the gas air mixture becomes more critical. Our Technician will assure the burner gas orifice is the proper size, combustion air and gas pressure is proper. New furnaces operating at our high altitudes need special permanent modifications for proper combustion because, manufactures of heaters do not provide stock units for high altitude. Poor combustion leads to wasteful costs of operation, premature unit failure and air pollution. Our Technician will insure high altitude operation and check proper combustion.
Natural Draft Burner
Induced Draft Burners
8) Check gas piping to furnace
Natural Gas Flex Connector
Most gas heaters have a hand valve and flexible steel gas lines connecting them. If a furnace is located in a closet, commonly household storage items can damage the flexible gas line. Some furnaces may be located beneath the home where wild life may damage the flexible gas line. Although a damaged gas line may not be leaking the stress damaged flexible gas line may leak if disturbed further stress is continuing. A damaged gas flex must be replaced. Small gas leaks that dissipate under the home may go undetected. Sometimes the gas shut off valve develops small leaks from wear. The supply gas is important to be inspected for leaks and potential leaks. The supply gas can only be shut down manually! We prevent disaster while inspecting gas supply piping for leaks and metal stress indicators that indicate a potential leak.
9) Check motors and fans
Combustion Fan Motor
Most gas heaters have at least two fan motors; combustion and blower. The fan blades can get dirty and move less air or the bearings on the motors can be worn. Worn bearings can cause the motor to overheat and stop on overload safety that automatically resets when the motor cools. While the fan motor is running you will get heat. Then the motor with worn bearings will fail causing safeties to shut down gas burners. As the failed motor cools and starts again the gas short cycles back on providing heat again.
The technician will check motors and fans for dirt and measure motor’s current to know condition of bearings.
Fan Blower Wheel
10) Perform required adjustments
The complete heating system, consist of several field adjustments for its unique application. Small adjustments such as heat anticipator, fan control, low limit, fan speed, volume dampers, gas operating pressure and others can extend the life and safe operation of your heating system. Our qualified technician’s special equipment provides a record to be reviewed and documented. The readings of your heating system’s unique operating condition indicate any adjustments necessary by the technician and can be kept for future evaluation.
The technician will make adjustments and advise you of potential failures in your heating system to enhance the performance, extend the life and keep your heating system in a safe operating condition.