About the House: Still time for a furnace tune-up

Originally published in the Sturgis Journal

By Rob Kinsey

If you’re one of the too-many people who’ve procrastinated and missed the annual or bi-annual furnace tune-up, there is still time.

If you’re one of the too-many people who’ve procrastinated and missed the annual or bi-annual furnace tune-up, there is still time. Maybe. You also should know the prime easy-to-get-time for a furnace tech is way past and this current cold snap is keeping many contractors working overtime, so your chances for a check-up might come a bit down the road. 

In the meantime, do some self-checking to inform the tech about what’s happening. It might prove to be educational, too. 

First, take a long look at the outside your furnace and the area surrounding it. Is the floor wet anywhere? If yes, determine, as best you can, the source of the water. If your furnace has an efficiency of 90 percent or more, generally there will be white plastic piping to carry the flue gasses outdoors. Check for a leak there. If there is a drain line (usually clear tubing) leading to a floor drain or a pump, check it for leaks. Also check for a leak coming from furnace cabinet.

If the flue pipe is metal, examine it for signs of corrosion, water seepage and any holes. Are all the sections running an uphill slope to the outdoors and are the joints fastened securely? Is the flue held securely by metal hangers? Is there any nearby storage or other things that could fall over and dislodge the flue pipe causing a leak of combustion gasses into the home? This is not limited to just carbon monoxide, but a whole host of noxious fumes that can cause serious harm to humans and other living things.

How is the filter doing? If it is a thin (1-inch pleated type) be prepared to change it every four to six weeks. If you have a 4-inch pleated box filter set, you should be ready to replace it every three to five months. The length of time between changes is affected by many variables including pets that may shed, the use of wood supplementary heat, and even draftiness of the house letting in dust from within the walls and attic.

Pulling the front cover will allow you to see the flames. You will want to see all, or nearly all, blue flames. Overly large, misshapen and highly yellow flames indicate your furnace is inefficient and wasting money About the House.

Rob Kinsey has been a licensed builder for 30 years and is a home inspector with more than 20 years of experience.

Date : 1/13/2018