Winter is coming. Here’s the one furnace checkup that could save a life.
Although the Farmers Almanac is predicting a more mild winter 2020-2021, we can still expect some frigid nights ahead.
When the power does stay on, all that stands between us and the cold in such situations is a working furnace. Every winter, furnace technicians respond to weekend and middle-of-the-night emergency calls to attend to broken furnaces.
An annual inspection by a certified technician is an essential part of properly managing a property.
A common cause of a furnace not coming on is a corroded flame sensor. The fix here is quick: usually a quick brush with low-grade sandpaper does the trick. Other issues range from dust buildup to electrical malfunctions. A certified technician may perform any or all of the following inspections during a furnace checkup:
- check vent system for blockages or leaks
- air intake grills checked for blockages
- check blower motor amperage draw
- check carbon monoxide levels
- check drainage system for blockages & leaks
- blower door checked for leaks
- inspect burners and flame sensor
- ensure wiring is not damaged
- inspect heat exchanger for corrosion
They will also check the furnace filters, though these should be replaced every three months.
The carbon monoxide check is easily the most critical part of a furnace checkup. While it is highly recommended that CO detectors are installed in close proximity to a furnace and any other CO source, an inspection can reveal high CO levels in the first place.
As much as scheduling hassles and cold occupants are very real and pressing issues for tenants and landlords, things become decidedly more serious when lives hang in the balance.
It is for this reason above all others that an annual furnace inspection is essential.
A note on CO detectors: In addition to ensuring a properly functioning furnace, it is also the landlord’s responsibility to install, maintain, and test CO alarms. The landlord is also required to provide the tenant with maintenance instructions for CO alarms. Click here to read about recently enacted legislation concerning CO alarms.
In every case, the issue is not really the complexity of the repair or inspection. It’s when these things might turn into malfunctions. A cool week in October might be not be the worst time to find that a furnace isn’t working. A Sunday evening in frigid February is probably less convenient.
The best advice? Take care of your furnace, and it will take care of your tenants and you.
The best time to schedule a furnace checkup any time before the weather starts to cool down! Most people wait until the temperature starts to dip in October, by which time you’re likely in for a few weeks’ wait.
If you’re not yet a client and would like to learn more about how we prepare rental properties for winter, contact us today.