Fall is the Time to Check Your Heating System

A woman adjusts her thermostat to check her heating systemAs the weather begins to cool down, you can open the windows to save on your electric bill. A good way to invest the money you save in the fall is to get a heating system tune-up. The small amount you pay for the tune-up can mean big savings on the repair bills you won’t have in the winter. Just like a vehicle, your heating system needs to be inspected and maintained to prevent larger repairs down the road.

Each type of heating system has a different set of elements that need to be checked and maintained throughout the year. You can learn about our Priority YOU service on the Ranck Maintenance page, but we have included some of the key issues that should be inspected for each system.

Gas Heating Systems
Gas furnaces and boilers are the most common heating system in the older homes of Berks, Lancaster and York Counties. Natural gas systems are very efficient and can be an economic way to heat your house. Still, like every other system there are components that need to be maintained and cleaned every year to keep your system working correctly and efficiently.

Cleaning
Build-up, after a winter of burning, can clog and decrease the efficiency of your system. It is important to clean the flue pipes and base at the chimney to make sure the airway does not have dangerous blockage. The exhaust and burner assembly also need to be cleaned.

System Checks
Like any fine tuned machine, different elements need to be checked and adjusted to ensure they do not compromise the rest of the system. These parts range from the gas line, ignition and combustion systems, to specific components like the pilot burner, heat exchanger, relief valve, and belt tension. This ensures that the complete system is running at maximum efficiency from the thermostat to the heat in your home.

Oil Heating Systems
Oil heating systems have become much more efficient than they were in the last century and gallon-for-gallon oil produces more heat than gas. However, oil prices have been much higher than natural gas in recent years. There are many similarities in maintaining oil heating systems, as well as a few key differences.

Cleaning
Like the gas systems, it is very important to clean the flue pipes and base of the chimney to make sure the airway is not blocked. The internal thermostat also has to be cleaned. Unlike gas systems, there is an oil filter that needs to be changed and the old one needs to be disposed of, according to hazardous waste rules. The oil nozzle atomizes the fuel before it ignites. These tend to get clogged with build-up from impurities in the fuel. There are many nozzle types, so it is important that the company servicing your system replaces it with one that will maintain or improve your heating efficiency.

System Checks
Oil systems have different stages that turn the oil into heat. Each stage needs to be tested to make sure it is functioning correctly. These stages include the transformer, oil blowers and motors, oil pump pressure, combustion chamber, relief valve, expansion tank, and heat exchanger

Heat Pump Systems
Like oil, electrical heat pump systems have become much more efficient in recent decades. The efficiency of a heat pump depends on the ease of airflow and the effectiveness of the machine pumping the air through the house. Since the same system is often used to cool the house, it is being used in both summer and winter, and should be checked twice a year.

Cleaning
The most important part of cleaning for the heat pump is the air filters, since a dirty air filter can restrict airflow and efficiency. The ducts should also be cleaned as a separate service at least every three years.

System Checks
Heat pump systems have many moving parts and smaller systems within the unit. System checks require lubricating all moving parts and examining the multiple components of the electrical, evaporator, pressure, blower, and condenser systems.

Many people wonder if it really is necessary to service your system every year. The answer is yes. For older systems, it is vital to replace older parts that can fail or reduce efficiency. Likewise, it’s important to have regular inspections of newer systems to prevent issues and catch problems before they become an expensive repair.

If you have not scheduled your annual check-up with Ranck, give us a call at 888-997-2625 or schedule an appointment. You can also sign up for Preventative Maintenance Service and have peace-of-mind throughout the year.