Is Annual Furnace Inspection in Phoenix Important?
You have likely heard about the need for annual furnace inspections. Most furnace manufacturers will tell you that you should have your furnace inspected every year. It’s printed in the manuals, and your contractors will mention it to you when they install it. Is it essential to book someone to come out every single year? The answer, as with so many other topics, is “it depends.” In Phoenix, despite the usually warm to hot weather, it is a good idea to take good care of your furnace.
New Furnaces Are Quite Resilient
The way that the manufacturers word their recommendations makes it sound like if you don’t have your furnace inspected every single year, then the warranty will be void. This is not necessarily the case. It’s best practice to have your heater checked on a regular basis, but it isn’t always necessary. In most parts of the country, you would probably get away with having a new furnace checked out every two years. When your heater is over ten years old, it starts making more sense to have it checked every year because there is more wear and tear and more potential points of failure.
Phoenix is a particular case, however, because the dusty desert air is more likely to clog filters and do damage to the unit. Since the unit is under more stress, it starts making sense to have it maintained on a regular basis. That’s the other thing that you should consider – the difference between a simple inspection and a full annual maintenance check-up.
What Do HVAC Technicians Do In an Inspection?
Inspections and maintenances checks can vary massively in what you get out of them. Some companies will do a quick inspection that will determine whether or not the unit is safe to use. If you’re a landlord, then it makes sense to have one of those checkups performed on all of your properties quite regularly. They’re inexpensive, and they can save lives.
If you are currently a homeowner and you want to make sure that your furnace is running well, then it’s a good idea to have a more comprehensive check performed. Things that might be checked include:
- Wiring: to make sure it is not corroded or damaged
- Air intakes: these should not be blocked or obstructed
- Blower access door: does it form a tight seal at the furnace?
- Heat exchanger: this must be free from rust and corrosion
- Burners: these should ignite adequately and have a clean flame
- Blower wheel: as a part of the inspection this should be checked for debris and then cleaned. Doing this properly requires the wheel to be removed entirely.
- Filters: any filters must be monitored, and cleaned or replaced if needed. This should be done between inspections to suit the schedule of the manufacturer.
Other checks can be performed as well. The above items are a few of the basic, but useful, checks that should be a part of a standard inspection.
Is It Possible To Do A DIY Inspection?
Each of the above tasks sounds simple enough, but they are skilled jobs, and they are hard to do well. Some things are simple, such as replacing user-serviceable filters, and you should be doing those as and when required. A full service is a more complicated task that does require some industry expertise.
Furnace inspections are preventative maintenance, and they can save you a lot of time and money in the long run, so it’s worth paying a flat fee for a regular maintenance check, instead of hoping for the best and then ending up having to shell out for an emergency visit late at night on a public holiday.
Common Signs of Furnace Problems
If you haven’t had a maintenance checkup in a while and you’re wondering whether your furnace needs one, the answer is most likely that it does. There are a few common warning signs that you should look out for though. If your answer is a solid “yes” to any of these, then you should seriously consider booking an inspection sooner rather than later.
– Age: If your furnace is more than ten years old then you need regular maintenance. The average life expectancy of a furnace is just 16-20 years. Most people replace their heater around that time. If you have the desire and can afford to do so, then start shopping for a replacement. You might be handy enough to do your own furnace replacement. But it is better to take good care of your furnace and have a good heating company service it from time to time to extend its life.
– Rising Bills: As your unit gets older it will likely become less efficient. You will notice that your utility bills start increasing. That’s a sign that your unit is beginning to break down.
– The flame is yellow instead of blue: A yellow flame is a sign of poor ventilation. If the flame is flickering, that is a bad sign. Streaks of soot around the furnace are another warning sign, as is excessive rusting on the flue pipe. Your furnace could be producing carbon monoxide – an odorless, colorless, and deadly gas. Stop using your unit immediately and call in an expert to check it out. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal, so this is something that you should not ignore.
– Strange noises: If your furnace is creaking, banging or squealing then this could be a sign that the blower is working too hard or that there is a fault somewhere else in the system.
– Dry, dusty air: One common problem, especially in Phoenix, is that the furnace struggles to produce moist, clean air. If your home feels stuffy, or people have problems with dry throats and dry skin, then this can be a sign that the furnace is struggling. You may notice that your plants struggle to thrive and that you get more static shocks than usual. These conditions are all indications that you should get your furnace checked out.
A furnace checkup could save you a lot of money in the long run, and may even alert you to potentially dangerous issues. It’s not a lot to pay for peace of mind. Early autumn is a great time of year to have Icon Mechanical come out and service your furnace.