Furnace maintenance is important for your warmth and safety in the cold Alberta temperatures. Keeping your furnace in working order should be considered a priority.
Alberta’s climate is ranked number one by Environment Canada and we are lucky enough to have more sunny days than any other place in the nation. But, that doesn’t mean that our winters are what many would consider mild.
Once cold weather strikes, temperatures in Alberta can drop down to 30-40 degrees Celsius and some areas might even see up to 30 feet of snow between November and April.
When the seasons begin to change in Alberta, people start to think about the long, cold winter that lies ahead. Thinking about keeping your home warm throughout fall and winter is an important part of preparing for the next several months.
Canadians, on average, spend just slightly less on electricity, around 15% less overall, than they do on the cost of shelter. A major part of the typical household budget includes heating costs.
In Canada, over half of the population will heat their home with a furnace.
Maintaining your home’s furnace parts is essential to ensure worry-free operation all year long.
Do you know if your furnace has been given the attention it needs for it to run efficiently all winter long?
Read on to learn how to identify your home’s furnace parts and prepare your furnace to keep your family safe and warm throughout the year!
Why Maintaining Your Furnace is Crucial
Year-long maintenance may not be something that you consider necessary when it comes to your furnace.
But, even though, it may be used more often in the colder months, it should receive regular check-ups during the year. This is the only way to ensure that it is in top-notch condition and that it is able to perform when needed.
Failing to keep your furnace regularly maintained can result in a catastrophe once the winter weather hits.
Not only could you find yourself in a situation lacking proper heat, but overlooking furnace safety could create hazardous conditions as well.
Canada’s fire and public safety officials recommend that fuel-burning appliances, including furnaces, receive regular maintenance check-ups as part of home safety precautions. This is crucial for a number of reasons.
First of all, if your furnace parts are not checked out, it increases the likelihood that your furnace will not operate properly during these colder temperatures.
However, what might be even scarier is that improper ventilation, either from an inside source or due to outside ventilation that is blocked by snow or leaves, can create a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the silent killer, because of its emission of odorless, colorless gas. And, it has reportedly caused a number of deaths in Canada over the past several years.
One way to keep your home carbon monoxide free is to invest in a carbon monoxide detector for your home. Another suggestion is to have your furnace parts maintained on a consistent basis.
Finally, furnace maintenance ensures that your heating runs as efficient and cost-effective as possible. And, if you call the right professionals for your annual check-up, they can often take a look at your water-heater, even if you have an electric heating system.
Having to replace or repair your furnace parts or hot water heater may not be your idea of fun. But, it tends not to cause as much stress if it can be done prior to resulting in an emergency situation.
Identifying Parts of the Furnace
To make sure that your furnace receives a complete check-up, you should be able to identify your furnace parts and the role that each plays in warming your home.
Here are furnace parts that you need to know, depending on whether you have a gas or electric furnace.
If You Have a Gas Furnace
Furnace maintenance for gas and electric furnaces are different because they each have different parts. In this post, we will review both types. We will start with gas furnace parts.
A gas furnace appliance resembles a large box, which absorbs cold air. The air is cleaned through an air filter. The air is heated by the burner which distributes it via a blower motor through the home’s ductwork.
The most commonly seen gas furnace parts include the following:
- a gas manifold
- gas burners
- heat exchanger
- ignition controls
- safety controls
- blower motor
The gas manifold does not typically require extensive maintenance work unless it is exposed to the elements. However, it should be checked to make sure that there are no obvious areas of damage.
The manifold is connected to the burners with the valve using brass fittings called spuds. Most furnaces have spuds for natural gas but they are sometimes used for propane as well.
The burners are usually lit by a pilot flame or by an electronic ignition that is often found in modern gas furnaces.
The burners heat cold air with exchangers. Exchangers are made of stainless steel.
The warm air is then blown through a blower motor through the ductwork of the home.
Annual inspections should be performed to make sure that the heat exchanger does not have any cracks or other defects or issues.
The heat exchanger is made of metal and alloys that are resistant to temperatures that rise above 2000 degrees Fahrenheit inside the combustion chamber.
Over time, cracks may develop and this can cause carbon monoxide to leak into the home. Should you notice a crack or leak, it is imperative that you seek immediate attention to have the damaged furnace parts repaired as quickly as possible.
The vent pipe, made of stainless steel or PVC, carries the exhaust gasses that out of the area.
B type venting pipes are the standard venting recommended for gas furnaces.
Modern furnaces use integrated circuit boards to monitor the furnace’s operations.
The circuit boards emit light codes if there is a defect in the furnace. The codes can generally be found on the door of the furnace or the manual that the furnace comes with at the time of purchase.
There is a safety control device that shuts off the gas in case the ignitor fails or the pilot light goes out called a thermocouple.
It has metal wires and a protective casing. When it heats up, it sends a signal through the valve to let the valve know when it should open and close.
The blower motor is responsible for circulating the heated air into the home’s ductwork. Then it collects the return air to be recirculated for use in heating the home.
If You Have an Electric Furnace
Now, let’s take a look at some of the most important furnace parts of an electric furnace.
The contactor in an electric furnace works closely with the thermostat to switch the voltage to your heating element. When the thermostat reaches the right temperature, the contactor turns off the heat by opening the connection,
Your contactor is a necessary component to the operation of your electric furnace. It is critical to warming your home during the colder weather.
The sequencer turns the heating element on or off. It keeps the current spike that is electric down, which can happen whenever the device is energized.
It does not require much force to energize your device. This is why it should be checked regularly to make sure that it is runny properly and does not require repair.
The transformer is what supplies power to the electric furnace by transferring the energy from one circuit to another.
There is more than one current that goes through the core in your electric furnace. The primary current causes a magnetic field that will go through the secondary current. This is how the process of transferring the load from the primary circuit will take place.
In addition to the parts above, you will also have a furnace boiler that will need to be drained and maintained from time to time. It is important that you have this checked prior to the immediate need of the furnace’s heat so that you do not have to go without heat for a period of time if the boiler requires work.
Should You Do It Yourself When it Comes to Your Furnace Maintenance?
As you can tell, for both electric and gas furnaces, there are a variety of furnace parts and components that require maintenance to keep the furnace in good, safe operating condition.
While you may be tempted to perform maintenance required for furnace parts in order to keep down expenses, this may not be the best idea.
After you become familiar with how your furnace parts work and how each major part should operate, then it is probably fine if you choose to perform routine checks throughout the year.
However, it is recommended that at least once or twice annually, you have the entire furnace unit checked out by a professional who can look for any defects and perform any necessary repairs.
Your furnace is an integral part of your home. But, a malfunction can easily affect the health and well-being of you and your family. For this reason, furnace maintenance and repairs should be taken very seriously.
Do not attempt to perform repairs and maintenance on any furnace parts that may be dangerous, leaking gas or fumes, or unfamiliar. To do so might risk your safety, and could end up costing more money in the long run.
Is Your Furnace Ready for Winter?
Are you sure that your furnace parts are in tip-top shape to get you through the cold Alberta winter that lies ahead?
If you haven’t had your furnace’s annual professional inspection, then you and your family could be left out in the cold. Or even worse, you could be at risk for a real potentially hazardous situation.
Don’t leave your furnace to chance this year. Make sure that you are ready for whatever winter weather comes your way.
Remember, a do-it-yourself check-up is recommended several times a year. But, performing your own check doesn’t serve as a substitution for having professionals perform furnace maintenance, repairs or replacements annually.
Our professionally trained staff have the skills and experience to make sure that you and your family stay warm and safe all winter long. And, we’re at your service twenty-four hours a day. So anytime you have an emergency or just want regular furnace maintenance peerformed, we’re available to help you.
Have you had your furnace serviced this year? Do you feel confident that it’ll be ready when the coldest temps move in?
Or, have you been putting it off, hoping that it holds out another year? This might not be the kind of gamble that you want to take. The best way to avoid any potential problems with your furnace is to take proactive precautions before the problem strikes.
If not, contact us today to make an appointment with our professionals who will make sure that your furnace is prepared to take on the wintry weather ahead!