Winter….is coming. Just like in Game of Thrones, winter is coming, whatever that is down here in the South. It could be 45 degrees and raining, 34 degrees and bleary or 75 degrees and clear skies. In preparation for “whatever the weather” plan on scheduling preventative maintenance for your gas fired heater. A couple things can prevent your heat from working after “taking off the summer months”. Here are some potential issues that could leave you out in the cold.

1.  Clogged pressure switch. Debris (rust, wasps, squirrels) falling from the flue vent either binds the blower wheel of the induced draft assembly or gets blown into the orifice which blocks the negative pressure from closing the pressure switch preventing your heat from working.  Eventually the furnace locks out or you give up and shut it off.

2. Dirty flame sensor. Oxidation build up on the metal probe of the flame sensor prevents a proper flame rectification signal to the control board and the furnace locks out or you give up and shut it off.

3. High limit trips. Excessive heat rise of the furnace causes the high temperature limits to trip open and locks out the call for heat until reset. The cause of this can be as simple as a dirty air filter, or a weak capacitor for the blower motor, or a dirty evaporator coil preventing proper air flow.

4. No pilot light (old standing pilot light furnace). Lack of pilot flame prevents the gas valve from opening. The pilot light could blow out from wind drafts down the flue pipe, or a weak thermocouple, or a clogged orifice/spud in the pilot light assembly, or a bad gas valve.

Another issue we see is a gas code/safety concern and that is a flexible gas line piped straight to the gas valve in your furnace. The problem is possible vibration of the flexible gas line rubbing against the metal edge of the furnace cabinet could create a hole and a gas leak. The correction is to have a solid black pipe “nipple” or fitting installed and then re-connect the flexible gas line.

Lastly, your thermostat is very important in your household comfort and energy savings. Have your thermostat evaluated and consider replacing it with a good Honeywell digital thermostat. An upgrade would be a wifi enabled thermostat like Nest or Honeywell. The money you save from using a accurate, smart program that features “away” or set back scheduling will pay for itself in energy savings.

These are some of the most common heating failures we come across which could be prevented with some routine maintenance. Please consider Air Max Heating & Cooling LLC, call us at 601-939-0015 and schedule your preventative maintenance today. Winter….is coming.

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