Forced air heating is one of the most common methods of heating found in modern homes. This efficient and relatively straightforward system has become a hallmark of contemporary construction, but it requires regular upkeep to continue working at maximum efficiency. Many homeowners neglect these basic maintenance tasks, leaving their system to languish for years without a full inspection or cleaning. Benign neglect such as this can lead to serious trouble down the line, ultimately wearing out furnace components much more quickly and creating a need for costly repairs.
A Dirty Furnace Won't Catch On Fire
Although regular maintenance and cleaning are essential, it's also crucial to understand that modern gas appliances are incredibly safe. Homeowners should rightfully treat gas lines and appliances with a proper amount of respect, but it's not necessary to be afraid of them. Newer furnaces come with safeties that help them to avoid potentially disastrous failures. In most cases, a furnace will shut down at the first sign of overheating. In fact, a furnace that refuses to turn on may simply be dirty or clogged up.
It's Getting (Too) Hot In Here
So what does happen when you neglect your furnace? The most likely answer is that it will begin to overheat. Although "furnace" and "overheat" aren't two words that commonly go together, there is a limit to how much heat its internal components can take. The heat exchanger relies on your blower to move hot air throughout your house, cooling it in the process. If anything prevents this from happening, the temperature around the heat exchanger can become too warm. Prolonged exposure to these high temperatures can lead to cracks and carbon monoxide leaks. Fortunately, most furnaces will shut down before this happens.
The most common causes of overheating are dirty air filters, clogged ducts, and blocked vents. All three conditions restrict airflow through the system, impeding the ability of your blower to move hot air away from the furnace.
Scheduling Check-Ups And Cleanings
The good news is that a modern furnace doesn't require nearly as much maintenance as older models once did. Keeping your furnace clean and efficient is mostly a matter of checking and replacing your filter every few months. In addition to this simple maintenance task, schedule an annual check-up with a qualified HVAC technician. A professional will open up your furnace and check the condition of your blower, heat exchanger, and the furnace's internal electrical components. This relatively cheap service can help to protect your investment and guarantee that your furnace will continue to function properly for many winters to come. Reach out to a reliable HVAC contractor that offers affordable furnace repair services.