Keeping Your Home Cool during the Sweltering, Summer Months

What Can Go Wrong When You Don't Maintain Your Furnace?

by Anthony Graves

Furnace maintenance is more than just another chore that you need to check off your to-do list. Scheduling a maintenance visit for your home's heating system serves three critical functions:

  • Maintaining efficiency
  • Preventing costly repairs
  • Ensuring safe operation

Like most other maintenance tasks, deferring your annual check-up won't cause any immediate problems. If you're lucky, you may not experience any adverse effects for many years. However, the long-term consequences can be severe. Keep reading to learn three ways that deferred furnace maintenance can negatively impact your home's most critical heating component.

1. Increased Utility Bills 

Furnaces don't simply become less efficient as they age. While most furnaces will lose some efficiency over time, these problems usually occur due to a lack of maintenance or unaddressed parts failures. Maintaining your furnace helps avoid these problems by addressing them before they compound and cause your utility bills to skyrocket.

Of course, it's never too late, and you should still schedule a maintenance visit even if you've been ignoring your furnace and watching your costs climb month-over-month. A thorough tune-up by a professional can help to restore some of that lost efficiency, bringing your utility bills back down.

2. Expensive Repairs

Have you ever ignored a concerning noise from your car before? If you have, you probably know that putting off those repairs only leads to even costlier problems in the future. Your heating equipment works the same way. Many problems may start as minor annoyances, but they can quickly develop into expensive issues.

For example, airflow problems can cause your heat exchanger to run too, ultimately increasing the odds of damage and failure. A cracked heat exchanger puts your property in danger and often means the end of your furnace's service life. A routine maintenance visit will help you identify problems before they destroy expensive components, allowing you to delay or avoid these high-cost fixes.

3. Unsafe Operation

Your furnace includes numerous safety devices that work together to ensure your system operates safely and efficiently. Examples include the exhaust pressure switch, flame roll-out sensor, and ignition flame sensor. These components can fail, causing your furnace to stop working or, even worse, allowing it to operate under unsafe conditions.

Part of any routine maintenance visit involves cleaning and testing these sensors to ensure they're working correctly. Discovering issues with these sensors before you need them can help protect your furnace, property, and health.