With temperatures dropping into the single digits, many homeowners are crossing their fingers and hoping to skate through the winter without a furnace breakdown.

But according Edison Heating & Cooling’s Mike Iarrapino, there’s more to keeping your home’s furnace going than just changing the filter.

“Treat it like a car; just like you change the oil in your car, you need to maintain your furnace,” Iarrapino said when explaining that preventative maintenance can be the difference between a furnace that stands up to single-digit temperatures and one that conks out when you need it most.

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“Preventative maintenance is really important,” he said.  Edison Heating & Cooling, along with furnace manufacturers, recommends an annual inspection that includes cleaning and checking the unit’s major parts. “It’s more than just changing the filter every month or two,” Iarrapino explained.

Edison Heating & Cooling offers a ten-point inspection where technicians identify small problems before they become big ones.   For example, parts like condensate pumps and condensate traps need regular cleaning and inspection.   Blowers and secondary pumps need to be checked too.

Sometimes it’s the simple parts that can create the biggest problems.  For example, most people don’t realize the furnace’s flame sensor should be checked and, if need be, cleaned annually.  “The unit will shut off if the senor doesn’t sense a flame because it’s dirty.  It’s a simple cleaning,” Iarrapino said.  “But on a cold day a dirty sensor can leave you with no heat.”     

Yet it’s not just furnaces that need preventative maintenance.  Baseboard heat and steam units do to.  For example, most people don’t realize that boiler pressure should be checked regularly and that steam systems should be flushed weekly.

Iarrapino started in the heating and cooling business in 1987, and he said that things have changed dramatically:  “Years ago it was different.  The technology has changed.  It’s not just few parts anymore.”

The technology is changing so fast, in fact, that high-end units even have self-diagnostics that send messages to cell phones. 

Edison Heating & Cooling has a 15,000 square-foot facility in South Plainfield and serves towns in Central Jersey.  It has 70 employees who provide 24-hour emergency service and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.  In 2013 it received the President’s Award from Carrier and the Angie’s List “Super Service Award.”  According to the company’s website, it does both residential and commercial work, including sales, service, installation, design, and maintenance.