There are certain parts of a central heating system that require adjusting at some time or another. These appliances must be properly maintained or they will fall into disrepair, and in some instances could even become dangerous. Among the various reasons why proper tune-ups are required, safety is the most important.
A heating system professional should carry out the following maintenance.
All Heating Systems:
The condition of your vent pipe and chimney should be checked, as sections of the venting system may have deteriorated over time. Repairs to the chimney can be quite expensive, and therefore the installation of new heating equipment that will not require the use of the current chimney may be justified.
The physical integrity of the heat exchanger should be checked. It is quite easy to identify water leaking from leaky boiler heat exchangers. When leaks occur with furnace heat exchangers, there is a mixture of combustion gases with house air, and to ensure safety it is essential that they are thoroughly inspected.
To provide optimum settings for water and air temperature to ensure efficiency and comfort, the controls on the boiler or furnace have to be adjusted.
If you plan to either replace or retrofit your existing heating system, a combustion-efficiency test should be performed by a technician.
Forced Air Systems:
- Check for any cracks on the combustion chamber
- Test if there is carbon monoxide (CO) and remedy if found
- The blower control and supply-air temperature should be adjusted
- Clean and oil the blower
- Dirt, soot or corrosion needs to be removed from the boiler or furnace
- Adjust if necessary the fuel input and flame characteristics after checking them
- The connections between the furnace and main ducts must be sealed
Hot Water Systems:
- Test the pressure-relief valve
- Test the high-limit control
- Inspect the pressure tank to ensure that it is filled with air and not water
- Clean the heat exchanger
- Drain some of the water from the boiler so that sediments will be removed and the heat exchange efficiency improved
- Both the low-water cutoff safety control and high-limit safety control should be tested
- Drainage of the float chamber is required to remove any sediments, that could create sediment clogs that would affect the low-water cutoff control
- Analyze the boiler water and add the chemicals necessary to control deposits and corrosion
- Clean the heat exchanger
- See section on steam radiators
Maintaining Proper Ventilation for Combustion Systems
Air quality should be your main concern once you carry out any maintenance, retrofitting or replacement of a gas or oil heating system. All oil and gas heating systems need combustion air, to support the combustion process. This type of air is created in some homes by unexpected air leaks, or air ducts connecting outdoors.
Several byproducts are created by the combustion process, and they are a potential risk to human health, while also causing deterioration in your home. To protect yourself from these hazards and also maintain energy efficiency, you need to ensure that your chimney system is functioning efficiently and your heating system is adequately ventilated. The installation of a sealed-combustion furnace or boiler can assist in some instances.
Other Ventilation Concerns
Between 1987 and 1993 there were some fan-assisted, non-condensing furnaces and boilers that were installed, and may be horizontally vented by the use of high-temperature plastic vent pipe (not PVC pipe, which can be used safely in the condensing of furnaces). This particular type of venting has since been recalled and stainless steel vent pipe has been used as a replacement.
If horizontal venting was used, there would be the need for an additional draft-inducing fan located near the vent outlet, to create sufficient draft. Special venting problems may arise with floor furnaces, since their vent connector exits the furnace in close proximity to the floor and before reaching a chimney may have to travel a distance of 10 to 30 feet. If you have this type of venting you should check if the venting or the floor furnace needs replacement. Whenever you suspect a problem with your furnace it is imperative that you contact a plumber in Kelowna who is qualified and licensed for heating systems of this type. We do not suggest you attempt to fix or repair your furnace unless you are trained in the electronics and the gas components.
Any smell of gases indicates a venting problem that can negatively impact your health. To get this repaired immediately, contact your local utility or heating contractor. For more information on this subject read our article on replacing the furnace or boiler.