Furnace maintenance in good ‘ol Alberta.

Winter is upon us here in Alberta already, late summer you looked at your to do list and saw “checking the furnace” as a task to do before the snow flies, didn’t you? Why do I sense hesitation in your thoughts right now? This valuable piece of hardware can go unnoticed until it stops working, and then you wished you at least had a look under the hood of that magical heat device. Well if you want to look at it now it’s still not too late, a little maintenance can keep it running clean and efficient. Here are a few tips to add to that list you are making in your head already as you read this:

-Filter! A clean filter can make all the difference, you don’t want that fresh air to be starving trying to get thru a dirty filter, if you have animals then check and replace / clean more often.

-Clean, a vacuum and a damp cloth helps to keep those dust bunnies away (turn off the power and remember that electronics and water don’t mix so just be cautious around those areas).

-The flame sensor, I heard you just say it in your head, “what is this gibberish?”. Depending on your make and model you may have a standing pilot or a hot surface ignition. Refer to your manual, or google, to find your make and model. A clean flame sensor makes all the difference, don’t touch the prongs with your bare hands, use a small piece of steel wool and just lightly sand the prong back to a shine.

-Cars need oil to run, right? I sure hope you thought “yes, yes they do”. A little lubrication on the moving parts especially on the blower help to keep it efficient and running smooth.

-While you are down there in that lonely furnace room, keep a bottle with a water and soap mixture handy. This is good to do a soap test on any accessible gas line joints, just remember if it bubbles, its not a good thing! If so call a technician right away to remedy that issue.

-A good co2 sensor in the mechanical area and around the heated area is a strong investment as well, it will tell you if that heat exchanger of yours ever fails, research this and pick the one best suited for your environment.

These are a few things I check for when doing my maintenance check, the internet has many useful lists that go way more in depth. My goal is to help you remember that that machine down there in the “dark room” that may store all your Christmas decorations and old pots and pans, may be feeling a bit lonely and with a little love, can last you a lot longer, and of course, avoid a cold night wishing you gave it some attention.