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A Professional Furnace Inspection Keeps Your Heating System Operating Effectively

When was the last time you had your furnace inspected? If you had it happen in the past 12 months, good for you. If you have it scheduled in the next couple of weeks, that's good as well. If you cannot remember the last time you had a furnace inspection, you should consider scheduling one soon.

A professional furnace inspection is essential for keeping your heating system running efficiently throughout the cold Chicagoland winter. If you don't have routine inspections done, you are shortening the life of your furnace and likely seeing higher energy costs. All of this is going to cost you money, create a hassle, and make your home less comfortable.

An annual furnace inspection is necessary for safety reasons as well as preventive maintenance. If you have a gas furnace, the exhaust coming out of the combustion chamber contains carbon monoxide. The chimney and exhaust system draws this gas out of the furnace to the outside. However, if any part of this system is not working properly, there's a chance the carbon monoxide could leak into the house. Carbon monoxide that builds up inside a building can be lethal.

What Happens During a Typical Furnace Inspection?

Manufacturers recommend certain checks be done on an annual basis by a qualified technician. Here is a partial list of key tasks during the maintenance check:

  • Check for blockages or leaks throughout the ductwork including all termination points. Leaking or blocked ductwork can lower furnace effiency.
  • Analyze combustion gases and compare to system specs. If the mixture is not within specs, it can be dangerous to the homeowners and may shorten the life of the furnace.
  • Check for tight seal around blower access door. No air should come in around this edge. The gasket may need to be replaced if it's loose.
  • Check fresh air intake vents for blockage. The furnace needs consistent air flow. If intake vents are blocked, it can starve the furnace, which causes it to shut off before the indoor air arrives at the set temperature.
  • Inspect heat exchanger for corrosion. When a heat exchanger begins to corrode, it signals that replacement is not far in the future.
  • Check burners for proper ignition and flame sense. The fuel should be feeding smoothly and the flame burning consistently. A blue flame signals proper combustion; a yellow flame the opposite.
  • Check drainage system for blockages. The hoses should be clear and all draining into the condensation pan. The technician should inspect the pan and drain, then clean it.
  • Remove blower wheel, check for debris, and clean. This keeps the blower wheel running smoothly.
  • Conduct an amp-draw test on the blower motor and check against spec. If the motor is wearing down, it may draw more amps than before.
  • Check wiring for corrosion or damage. Bad wiring can keep the system from working and might cause sparking.
  • Check filters. While this should be done routinely by the homeowner, the technician should verify this.
  • Check gas pressure to make sure it's providing enough to fuel the system, but not too much as to be dangerous.
  • Check temperature rise to make sure the system is heating evenly.
  • Lubricate moving parts to keep them running smoother and to reduce friction that cause motors to draw more power and work harder than necessary.
  • Calibrate thermostat to make sure it's heating accurately to the set temperature.

How Do You Find a Contractor for a Furnace Inspection?

Finding a qualified heating contractor to conduct an inspection involves more than finding the cheapest one who offers a coupon. The inspection you get from using a coupon may not be as thorough as one if you paid the contractor's regular price. You need to get a thorough inspection for you and your family's comfort and safety.

When looking for a contractor to do an inspection, ask for a breakdown of what they check during the inspection. If they don't have a formal checklist or refuse to give you a copy, look for another contractor. You need one with a formal checklist that shows what they did and what they found at each step.

If you need a furnace inspection in Chicagoland, including northwest Indiana and southeast Michigan, contact us at to find a qualified contractor.

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