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5 Ways Ignoring Regular Maintenance Harms Your Gas Furnace

December 07, 2012

Conventional wisdom says that any major piece of machinery or equipment, such as a vehicle or gas furnace, requires regular maintenance in order to function properly and to realize its expected useful life. However, especially in the case of gas furnaces, we don't usually hear why regular maintenance is important.  Because of this, many people may assume that it's just a way for furnace service companies to make more money. This couldn't be further from the truth! An unmaintained furnace likely leads to more high-cost repairs, and eventually the premature replacement of the furnace. These are areas where a furnace contractor makes a profit.

In reality, here at Evergreen in Seattle we don't make a profit when we perform a gas furnace maintenance. In fact, we lose money on these! Why do them? Because we hope to develop a long-term relationship with our customers by providing a low-cost, high value maintenance service. The reality is that every furnace, like any piece of mechanical equipment, will eventually fail. The key is to do everything we can to make sure the gas furnace functions optimally for as long as possible. Here are 5 ways that ignoring regular maintenance harms your gas furnace and poses a potential safety hazard to your family:

Dirty Seattle Gas Furnace Blower Wheel1. Dirty Blower Wheel  A dirty blower wheel can cause several problems.  It reduces air flow generated by the wheel, meaning the blower motor has to work harder and can fail as a result.  Reduced air flow can also decrease the comfort of the home, and cause the furnace's heat exchangers to overheat and fail.  Also, because the blower motor has to work harder, it will use more electricity, reducing the efficiency of your heating system.  A dirty blower can also be unbalanced, putting further strain on the blower motor, further increasing the likelihood of failure.

Dirty Seattle Gas Furnace Blower Motor2. Dirty Blower Motor  At Evergreen, when we see a blower motor failure, chances are that the blower motor and/or the blower wheel are dirty.  Here in Seattle, we see this problem quite frequently on unmaintained furnaces.  As the blower motor gets increasingly dirty, it is unable to properly cool itself and has to work harder to turn.  This puts a lot of strain on the motor and eventually leads to failure.  A blower motor replacement is typically well over $1,000, making this an expensive lesson to learn!

 

Seattle gas furnace cracked heat exchanger3. Dangerous CO Gas Released Into Your Home  As part of a regular maintenance, a gas furnace technician will check your furnace for CO gas levels.  Carbon monoxide gas (CO), also called the "silent killer," is tasteless and odorless and can be harmful or fatal at high levels. Heat exchangers in gas furnaces can develop cracks over time, through which CO gas is released. By having regular maintenance performed on your gas furnace, you will ensure that your home and its inhabitants are safe from these harmful exhaust gases.

 

clogged gas furnace air filter4. Clogged Filter  A clogged filter can cause a lot of problems for a gas furnace, reducing its efficiency and lifespan.  When a filter becomes clogged, airflow through the filter is reduced. This causes the furnace blower to have to work harder, meaning it will use more electricity and be more likely to fail. Reduced air flow will also cause problems with comfort and air quality in your home.  As your filter becomes clogged and less air is allowed to flow through it, its ability to remove particles from the air is reduced, meaning the air in your home will contain more unfiltered contaminants.  We recommend changing your furnace filter every three months, or at absolute minimum twice a year.  If you have a lot of pet dander, dust, or other contaminants in the air in your home, you may consider changing the filter more often.

voided gas furnace warranty5. Negligence Could Void the Manufacturer's Warranty  Most gas furnace manufacturers' warranties require regular maintenance.  If your gas furnace fails due to prolonged negligence, it could void your warranty, piling onto an already unfortunate situation.

 

 

 

Have any stories about how ignoring maintenance cost you?  We'd love to here them!

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