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3 Reasons You Need to Regularly Clean Your Furnace

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Canadians are no strangers to extreme weather. From coast to coast, millions of people are exposed to sub-arctic temperatures for at least six months during the frigid, cold winters. This means it is no surprise that the furnace is one of the most important appliances in any Canadian home.

Before the invention of furnaces, Canada and most of the world were for centuries, using the burning of wood and other raw materials as means of staying warm in the colder winter months. With the 19th century obsession with steam, gave us what is now known as a radiator. Since then, thanks mostly to advancements in gas and electric technology, we now have the modern versions of common furnaces.

We all know that furnaces play a vital and important role in the comfort within our homes. But for something we rarely see but yet plays such a pivotal role in our everyday home; not many people know and understand the inner workings of a common household furnace, how it works on a basic level; and more importantly, how to keep it running at 100% to ensure home comfort for you and your family. Sam Winterson, technician at Toronto Furnace & AC Repair Services argue that keeping a furnace functioning properly and keeping up with a professional maintenance schedule through the years will not only guarantee temperature-controlled warmth and comfort but will also prevent air quality issues and potentially expensive or dangerous mechanical issues requiring large fixes down the road. Several common furnace issues thankfully also have quite simple common solutions that anyone can tackle at home but for complicated mechanical and electrical HVAC please don’t hesitate to contact a professional to ensure the job is done right and under warranty.

Furnaces 101

In the simplest of terms, the purpose of a furnace in the household is simply to create heat and use a forced-air system to blow it evenly and economically throughout a home, with the result heating the home against the relative external atmospheric elements. In the colder months, the furnace is one of the most important but least thought of appliances in anyone’s home. Comfort is always ideal but, most of us literally couldn’t live without our furnace functioning properly.

Common Furnace Issues

There are several common furnace issues that thankfully also have quite simple common solutions that anyone can tackle at home, but for more complicated mechanical and electrical HVAC work, please don’t hesitate to contact a professional to ensure the job is done right and under warranty.

Broken/misreading thermostat: Old or misreading thermostats can cause fan problems (on/off), heat cycling, and most commonly temperature issues. Although appearing small and simple, the thermostat has an important job of sending signals to the furnace regarding temperature and whether or not to cycle on or off. A simple faulty installation can cause these laundry list of strange issues.

Filters that are clogged, old and dirty: Clogged fan filters will cause the entire system to use more power to pump the same amount of heat through the household system. Although it may appear to perform the same, it will run inefficiently then eventually cause it to fail.

Pilot Light: A furnace pilot light that is completely out, or barely flickering will indicate a problem with the line supplying gas to most common gas furnaces and it will extremely limit the furnaces ability to operate properly and output heat. If the pilot cannot be manually switched back on, it is strongly suggested that a professional look at it.

Mechanical Issues: As with any mechanical piece of equipment there are multiple moving parts that are all working together. The rotary belt can become loose or break, the airflow vents can become internally blocked or break, the heat exchange unit can fracture and the temperature switch can also break resulting in false readings. Any mechanical issue like these will require a professional to look at.

Importance of Clean Fan Filters

Air Quality: Allergies are common for millions of people around the country. From seasonal to pet allergies, the symptoms can range from uncomfortable to downright unlivable. One of the most common reasons for people having chronic allergies around their homes is because their furnace fan filters are dirty. Pet dander, mould, and other common aeroallergens need to be filtered out in a home to prevent them from recycling in the air and making allergy symptoms much worse and more uncomfortable. Without proper filtration, the air can become stuffy, stagnant, and dusty.

Pollutants: A build-up in airborne bacteria and other common house pollutants over an extended period can cause your furnace to need unnecessary and potentially costly repairs in the future. Not only will the furnace begin to underperform, the entire HVAC system including the ventilation may eventually become compromised. This issue can snowball quickly and in the long term, and the best-case scenario will result in an expensive overhaul/replacement of the primary mechanical equipment controlling the HVAC system.

Power Consumption: HVAC fan filters being dirty and clogged will logically cause less and less air to be able to flow through them. This in turn makes the system work harder to get the same amount of air flowing through the house. Apart from noticing a slight change in comfort levels, the real shock will be on the heating and cooling energy bills which be multiple times what they should be. Not only is it inefficient and bad for the environment, but it is also avoidably expensive for the homeowners reflecting in greatly inflated energy bills.

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