Nothing is quite as comforting as coming home to a warm house on a cold wintry day.  Yet, chances are, you don’t think about your furnace unless it stops working. By then, however, you may be dealing with costly repairs that could have been avoided or minimized. Scheduling annual maintenance for your heating system is a simple step that saves money and time, and minimizes inconvenience and discomfort.

As with any appliance that has multiple moving parts, your furnace is at risk for wear and tear. When these parts become damaged they can make your furnace less efficient or stop working altogether. Here are three common problem areas that your HVAC professional can identify before they become serious:

The Fan

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The fan keeps warm air circulating throughout your home and has several components that require attention and maintenance.

  • Dry ball bearings can cause friction in the fan shaft.
  • Fan blades can become loose or bent.
  • Motor mounts can come loose.
  • Fan belts wear out.
  • Fan motor issues and electrical issues, including frayed wiring, affect performance, efficiency and safety.

The Burner

During routine maintenance the burner is inspected and cleaned to insure that it is functioning properly. Dust and dirt covering the burner components can prevent all the burners from lighting and can also cause excessive wear and tear.  This can result in uneven heating.

The Ignition

Today’s furnaces typically work with an electronic ignition.  There are two types: intermittent and hot surface. Dirt and grime that build up over time negatively affect the performance of both types. The intermittent pilot uses a fuel nozzle that can become clogged, blocking the gas from flowing. The dirt on the hot surface igniter can act as insulation, and prevent the igniter from becoming hot enough to light the gas jet. During a maintenance visit, the HVAC professional will clean the igniter components to help prevent these issues.

An annual maintenance inspection is a worthwhile investment. While there are things you can do yourself to keep your furnace running smoothly such as replacing your furnace filters regularly,HVAC professionals are trained to spot potential problems that you likely won’t see.