How to Do a Home Furnace Inspection

Adrian Cruce

How to Do a Home Furnace Inspection

Furnace, furnace inspection, home inspection

If properly maintained, your furnace should work properly for a decade or more. Its parts are sturdy and resistant to wear and tear, and it contains high quality filters to keep debris from interfering with the operation of your unit. This along with a number of other built-in safety features combine to protect your unit from most problems.

And yet, with continued use, you may be noticing that your heating bills are increasing every year. With winter upon us, it is time to make sure your furnace is operating at top efficiency. Here are some checks and inspections you can make. Please refer to your furnace’s manual to identify parts covered in this article. Emergency furnace repair, however should only ever be handled by the experts or home inspectors.

First Cut the Electrical Power and Fuel Supply

The first step for a homeowner to take when engaging with the furnace is to make sure to shut down both the electrical power supply and the fuel supply. Turning off the power switch protects you from electrical shock and is usually be located near the burner. Cutting off the fuel supply is a precaution against explosion and fire, and is accessed via the fuel valve which is located near the oil tank if you have an oil burning system, or the adjacent gas pipe if you have a gas burning system.

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Check for Corrosion

The combustion from your furnace will often build up unwanted particles including soot, carbon dioxide and even water vapor. These menaces can cause corrosion of the walls of the chamber and other parts of the system. So check and if you see any corrosion or holes, it may be an indication that you need to make a call for maintenance. There is a danger of a deadly carbon monoxide leak if the exhaust flue has any holes or corrosion. So you should check this part of the furnace thoroughly and if you see any badly corroded parts of holes, cover with foil tape and call a serviceman to repair.

Check the Oil Filter

The oil filter is important to check constantly on an oil-powered heating system. It can often become clogged with sediment found in the oil. If it is clogged, you need to replace it with a new one. Close the oil valve first before replacing the oil filter and be sure to observe hazardous waste regulations when you dispose of a filter.

Check the Air Filter

Do not let the air filter stay in for more than a year. Be sure to replace it even sooner if your home is in a high pollution area, or if you have pets. There is a belt connected to the air filter called a blowers belt, and it should have good tension. If it is too loose, the tension needs to be adjusted.

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Check the Flame Color

Finally, take a look at the color of the flame in your furnace. If it is any colors other than a blue flame with orange tips, this indicates that the furnace’s combustion is not at peak efficiency. The culprit could be a bad air filter or too much dust.

Just like with any other high performance machines, your furnace should also undergo regular checkup and maintenance before and after using it. Some of these should be only conducted by licensed HVAC companies while others you can do on your own.