Winter ready? Check the heat
LANSING – As temperatures drop and winter winds begin to howl, make sure your home heating system is ready for optimal performance to keep you warm all season.
“Preventive, routine maintenance extends the life of your furnace so it doesn’t work harder and longer to keep you warm,” said Bureau of Construction Codes Director Irvin Poke. “Take care of minor problems before they develop into a major breakdown of the system.”
Poke explained how regular and thorough furnace maintenance can yield several important benefits. Improved performance of the furnace means better comfort and it is also more cost effective. Replacing defective parts avoids placing stress on other components which can drive up repair costs and eventually take a toll on the entire heating system.
A good maintenance check should include inspection, testing and calibration of safety controls; lubrication of motors; measurement of carbon monoxide levels; inspection of gas lines and flue pipe for leakage; testing and calibration of thermostats; and cleaning or replacing air filters.
Additional tips include:
-Clean cold air returns with a household vacuum cleaner. It is recommended the filter be checked once a month and replaced if necessary to maintain efficiency and prolong the life of the furnace.
-Have the furnace professionally cleaned by a reputable, licensed, local mechanical contractor at least every two years.
-Check the warranty on your system to see whether any repairs or replacements are covered. Remember that many heating systems come with long-term warranties.
-Hire a heating contractor who is insured for liability and property damage; offers warranties that cover equipment, materials and labor; offers maintenance and service after installation and after warranties have expired; and provides local customer references.
-Ask to see the Michigan mechanical contractor’s license and write down the contractor’s name and license number listed on it. Confirm the contractor is insured. Verify that the license is valid and issued for the proper classifications for the type of work being performed. To check on a license, visit the bureau’s website at http:// w3.lara.state.mi.us/bcclicense or call the Bureau of Construction Code’s Mechanical Division at (517) 241-9325.
Get at least three written estimates for the work especially if a furnace replacement is recommended.