Maintaining Your Furnace

Annual maintenance and inspections prevent problems.

The furnace in your home controls the temperature and circulates the air to filter out dust and allergens. Annual inspections by HVAC professionals will keep your furnace functioning properly and efficiently by finding issues with tuning and safety features of the unit.

Common problems found include:

  1. Heating and cooling can cause the ducts to become loose from expansion and contraction.
  2. The circulation fan motor bearings need lubricating.
  3. Cleaning is probably the most important thing to do. Getting dirt and debris off of the blower fan and the AC condensing coil is needed to keep the unit working properly.

The following are other “not so obvious” problems  that an annual inspection can find:

  1. Loose, damaged, or wrong sized belt. (found on older furnaces)
  2. Poor gas/air mixture.  Can be found only with a combustion analyzer
  3. Condensate drains not draining.
  4. Damaged wires and loose connections.
  5. Refrigerant leaks in the Air Conditioning system.

I firmly believe that the best way to keep your furnace working at peak efficiency and ready to go is to have is serviced at the beginning of each season.  The time to do it is before you need it.  Usually, you will get a bunch of coupons in the mail just prior to the heating or cooling season.  This is when you get the best deal for service.  Please check the company’s reputation on Yelp or Google before letting them into your home.

During our inspections, we check the efficiency of the furnace along with a test to see how much carbon monoxide (CO) the unit is producing.  We also check the temperature rise and compare it to the data plate to make sure it is in the acceptable range.  These two test should be done each year when the furnace is serviced.  This will keep your furnace operating safely and as efficiently as possible and to the specifications of the manufacturer.


I Want to Make Sure My Furnace Runs Efficiently and Safely Between my Annual Service.  What Can I Do?

Changing the filter is by far the most important thing you can do.  When the filter gets dirty, it restricts the air flow.  That restriction of the air flow will cause the furnace to overheat.  The high temperature will cause the heat exchanger to fail prematurely.  The following are the problems caused by overheating.

  • Restrict airflow, which puts additional strain on the fan motor that after time can make your motor burn out, your system overheats or your equipment fails.
  • Force your fan motor to overwork which uses more energy, can cause damage to your system and significantly raise your utility bill.
  • Drastically reduce your indoor air quality which can aggravate allergies, asthma and other illnesses.
  • Clog ductwork with debris which can decrease your equipment’s lifespan and lead to costly repair or replacement expenses.

How often should I change my furnace filter?

It depends on what type of filter you choose to use.  I like it when my clients purchase the thinner, cheaper filters and change them monthly.  Some filter state that they can last for up to six months.  As long as the airflow is not restricted, then that should be fine.  At a minimum please check your filter on a monthly basis.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us on our Yelp page

Charles Bellefontaine CMI, CPI, ACI

Charles is a home inspector and a home inspector trainer. He started as a professional home inspector in 1993. He works for Chicagoland Home Inspectors, Inc. and Bellman Group, Inc. He has earned the title of Certified Master Inspector (CMI) from the Master Inspector Certification Board. He earned the title Certified Property Inspector (CPI) from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. He earned the title ASHI Certified Inspector (ACI) from the American Society of Home Inspectors. He served as a Director and Officer of the American Society of Home Inspectors. He hs a tremendous passion about the home inspection profession and prides himself on helping his clients with the biggest purchase of their lives.

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