Maintain and service your heating system annually
A properly maintained heating system works more efficiently (which saves you money), lasts longer and is safer. Oil fired furnaces and boilers should be professionally cleaned and tuned at least once a year.
Dirty or clogged furnace filters waste money
Clean or replace forced-air furnace filters once a month or as needed. Dirty filters can cause your furnace to overheat your home or business – wasting energy and money. This can drastically reduce heating efficiency and cause premature failure of furnace parts.
Fix any leaks in your pipes and faucets
Even a small drip wastes a great deal of water in a month. And left unfixed, a small leak can grow into a larger issue causing extensive water damage and lead to mold-induced health issues.
Keep registers, baseboards and radiators clean
To ensure the most heat is being radiated for your comfort, clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters and radiators as needed; make sure they are not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.
Oil furnaces need routine maintenance
Routine maintenance includes monthly filter replacement or washing the electronic air cleaner grids when in constant use, cleaning the humidifier if equipped, and an annual tune-up of the burner. An oil burner tune-up includes a nozzle and filter replacement, heat exchanger and smoke pipe cleaning, and a fuel to air mixture adjustment. Since the mixture adjustment requires the use of special instruments to meet codes and standards, it is best left to a professional to obtain peak efficiency.
Oil Furnace Basic Troubleshooting
- First check that the thermostat is set higher than the actual room temperature. If you have a programmable thermostat, check that it has fresh batteries.
- If equipped with central air, or the system is zoned, make certain the selector switch is on heat.
- Check that the emergency switch (usually a red switch plate at the top of the cellar stairs or on the side of the furnace) is on.
- If you are familiar with the fuse or circuit breaker panel, see if the fuse is burned or the breaker is tripped. Correct the problem once; if the fuse blows or breaker trips again, call a technician.
- If you can access the burner, check the red button on the protector relay. Older furnaces will have a stack limit switch mounted on the smoke pipe that connects the furnace to the chimney. Push the button one time only. Repeated attempts to fire the burner without ignition can cause damage to the system. If the burner fails to fire and continues running on its own, call for service.
- Routine maintenance includes: monthly filter replacement or washing the electronic air cleaner grids when in constant use and cleaning the humidifier if equipped. Black soot is evidence of an incorrect air mixture or other malfunction and should be checked by a qualified technician.
Gas Furnace Basic Troubleshooting
- Check that the thermostat is set higher than the actual room temperature. If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure it has fresh batteries.
- If equipped with central air, or the system is zoned, make sure the selector switch is on heat.
- Check the emergency switch (usually a red switch plate at the top of the cellar stairs or on the side of the furnace) to see that it is on.
- If you are familiar with the fuse or circuit breaker panel, see if the fuse is burned or the breaker is tripped. Correct the problem once. If it repeats, call a technician.
- On standing pilot furnaces, the burner will not light if the pilot has gone out. If you are not familiar with the function of the gas valve or lighting the pilot, call for service.
- Furnaces with electronic ignition have a sequence of safety steps the burner takes to light. Information is usually attached to the inside of the burner or blower access door. Follow the procedure according to the manufacturer's guidelines to avoid the risk of fire or explosion.
- Do not disconnect any piping to check for gas supply. An instrument is used to check for pressure and should be done by a qualified technician.
- If the furnace is vented through PVC (white plastic pipe) out the side of the building, examine the ends of the pipe or pipes outside. Blockage of any kind will cause a shutdown.
Here are a few basic Gas Furnace rules of thumb to ensure your safety:
If you smell gas:
- Turn off gas supply at metre
- Do not use naked flames
- Do not smoke
- Do not turn electric switches on or off
- Open doors and windows
- Contact Iron Dog's emergency service
Properly installed appliances that are checked regularly should be safe. However, if you notice any of the following, you should switch off the appliance immediately and contact a Heritage Gas Authorized Member (i.e. Iron Dog).
- Soot around the appliance
- A yellow or orange lazy flame (except real flame gas fires)
- Excessive condensation in the room
Carbon Monoxide is invisible, odourless and tasteless and can be produced when a gas appliance has not been correctly installed or maintained or the chimney flue or air vent becomes blocked. If you experience drowsiness, headaches, nausea or pains in the chest when using a gas appliance, switch it off immediately. Move into fresh air and contact a doctor. Mention the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Do not use the appliance until it has been checked by an authorized gas technician.
Be safe. Ensure your gas appliances are checked for safety and only use Heritage Gas Authorized Members. Don't try to save on safety.