When it gets down to a frigid 39 degrees at night our heaters have been clicking on more often than usual. Naturally, a house fire from an out-of-spec HVAC system is our worst nightmare. But do you really need a heat safety checkup? Here are some guidelines for deciding…
How Do Technicians Conduct Safety Checkups?
There is no industry standard for a heat safety inspection. Every company has a different set of protocols, but keep in mind that a $20 Groupon offer is going to be very different from a standard $200 tune-up. A few areas we look at include:
- Common areas of blockage or leakage, including internal connections and outside terminations
- Combustion gas levels, compared to unit specifications
- Blower access door seals
- Fresh air intake grills
- Heat exchanger (for signs of corrosion)
- Burners (for proper ignition)
- Drain system and hoses
- Blower wheel
- Amp-draw (for the blower motor)
- Static air pressure
- Gas pressure
Do You Need To Call A Pro?
Most homeowners do not have the expertise to conduct these regular procedures. If you have an electrician, engineer or technician in the house, he or she may be tempted to do it — especially if they’ve had a sub-par contractor come and simply suck out fuzzy dust bunnies with a vacuum! However, it’s worth your while to find a professional you can trust to come out and conduct regular inspections. If your unit is brand new, you may only need this service every other year, but units that are more than 10 years old should be checked annually.
How Much Do Heat Safety Checkups Cost?
The ballpark for heat inspections is $80 to $150. Yet, buying an HVAC is about more than safety. It’s also about preventative maintenance — about freeing up blockages so your unit works better and preventing a problem that may switch off your system in the middle of the night. Most contractors charge high emergency fees if you have a sudden breakdown, so it’s best to catch any issues before they become urgent.