Every year it happens to someone: it’s the coldest day of winter and the furnace breaks down, leaving the homeowner with an urgent expense of thousands of dollars. There are common mistakes people make that put them in this emergency situation and simple steps to take to avoid being one of them, says Justin George of United Trades.
Here’s what you need to do to take care of your heating system:
- Have a certified gas technician service your furnace annually at the beginning of the season. Mistake: Skipping the maintenance as long as the heat is coming on. If your system is not working at peak performance, extra wear and tear will put a strain on the furnace parts, and you won’t know until they fail. “You wouldn’t buy a new car and not change the oil,” points out Mr. George. Annual proper inspection of your heating system will keep warranties valid and your equipment running at peak performance.
- Change your furnace filters monthly. For a standard size filter of 16x25x1, Mr. George recommends a monthly change, especially if there are pets in the house. Mistake: Leaving the filters unchanged for months on end, allowing debris build up in the filter. This means air can’t get through to the furnace well, leading to overheating of the motor. A motor burnout can be costly, and stress on the heat exchanger can lead it to crack, creating a risk for carbon monoxide leaks. A cracked heat exchanger means it’s time for a new furnace or a major repair.
- Check the batteries on your thermostat. This is quick troubleshooting you might overlook in your dismay of having no heat in the house on a cold day. If the thermostat isn’t working the batteries are the first thing to check.
Mistake: Forgetting about the batteries. Putting fresh batteries in the thermostat each fall is good maintenance.
- Check that your heating system(s) is not smothered with personal belongings and that there’s at least three feet of space around your equipment. Mistake: Piling things in storage too close to the furnace or hot water heater, especially paint cans, which create a fire hazard.
- Ensure there are working carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, which is the law in Ontario. Any detectors older than seven years should be replaced. In the worst case, a lack of CO detectors can prove fatal if there’s a carbon monoxide leak from the furnace or a gas appliance. Again, this underscores the importance of annual inspection and maintenance.
- When you need service, call a reputable, certified gas technician. Mr. George says a person servicing your furnace should have a gas fitters license, and the company should carry WSIB insurance and be licensed with the TSSA (Technical Standards and Safety Authority). These are qualifications the customer can ask about to ensure the company they’re dealing with is legitimate.
United Trades has been serving residential and commercial customers in Bowmanville, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax and the GTA since 2008, and is a Carrier factory authorized dealer that services all furnace brands. United Trades provides expert HVAC installation and service, and also offers gas fireplaces, boilers, hot water heaters, garage heaters, pool heaters, generators, electrical work and plumbing services.
Call United Trades at 1-877- 449-2891.