I've an 11-year old York gas hot air furnace never been serviced. I think it is about time after reading this site for a few months. What things should I ask the service company to check when I call for the service? TIA.
My company has the following checklist
This is from memory so it is quick and not exact
Turn on unit and run for about 5 minutes, check temp rise, flame signal or thermo-couple outputs, listen for unusual sounds (purge/induction motor vibrating or rubbing), check out flames, how do they look before blower motor starts and after it kicks on. Blower on, check load amperage. Check start capacitor (if installed). CO test at flue
We charge extra to use and print out a combustion analyzation of the flue gases, but this can be done.
Technicians have many ways of checking the HeatExchanger for fatigue/cracks. Ours use on easy access units a scope. If in doubt we use a chemical that is injected into the flames and a sensor is then placed in the plenum to see if any of it is escaping.
tech should have a manometer to check proper pressure at pressure switch, inlet gas pressure and outlet gas pressure. Check orfices and calculate that the right size are installed and system is properly derated.
Clean interior-blow out inducer motor vents
Pull blower cage - vacuum, clean, blowout motor vents and squirrel cage. Clean and vacuum out blower compartment and as far as one can reach into the return.
Check for proper combustion air, flue size or PVC piping issues. Clearance around furnace. Flue cap is code. Look for any obvious install boo-boo's that are scary or not upto code.
There are a many other items on the list, my techs write down exact readings during each procedure. If any adjustments are made, the new readings are listed. We make all small fixes or upgrades as part of the flat rate furnace check fee. However, if a major repair is required, our techs will write exactly what it is and where it was located and why it needs repair. The repair is quoted to the customer and you the customer have the right to call anyone else to confirm the repair or worse case the furnace may need to be repaired.
Caution should be taken when searching for a company that offers a basic $50.00 furnace check-up/tune-up fee. They need to make up the money some how, and the technicians love the commissions from major repairs or product replacement. You are the customer, ask many questions, and feel free to watch the technician. He/She should have a Carbon Monoxide detector, Multimeter, Manometer, tools, vacuum, and compressed air. If they don't have any one of these items, politely turn them away. Contact your local gas company, they should have a list of contractors they can refer you to, and if it isn't done right, you have the gas company verify and the contractor could loose there priviledges with the gas company.
Good Luck, its an industry with alot of honest hardworking guys, but all I here about is the terds out there.
Dont ask for anything other than a check up . your hvac pro will know exactly what to look for and what to do . Your gas company may even provide this service for you
Sounds like a nice service, unfortunately many areas do the super cheap clean and check and not much on the clean part.
If you are quoted one of the low price clean and checks ask them what they do and if a more comprehensive service is available. Many companies would be happy to offer this service but must remain competitive in their marketplace.
HVAC Contractor, Tyler Texas.
Remember one thing, the way you ask for help will control the actions you receive.
I wouldn't want to be told WHAT to check!
However, I believe that the client deserves to get a proper cleaning and inspection of said equipment. So I would tell them that youd like the unit cleaned, inspected, and serviced to insure it's operating at peak efficiency. And to please address any safety concerns that they may find.
Take it from there, and maybe ask tech after hes been there for a while if there are any concerns that need to be addressed.
Thanks all for your thoughts, especially slctech's very comprehensive response. I understand somewhat what jultzya said; but when I take my car in for service, I like to know what they are checking. There's a big difference between looking at the engine and seeing if something is leaking to doing a compression test and measuring for leaks. I'm concerned as slctech hinted ("but all I hear about is the terds out there")that I might get more of the former than the latter and that is why I wanted to know upfront what type of things are reasonable to expect. Dpatty's advice is helpful here. Thanks all.
Any suggestions for a contractor in Lower Bucks County north of Philly?