Do Furnaces Really Need to be Inspected Every Year?

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Just a few months prior to that, an HVAC contractor had come out to inspect the boiler and given it a clean bill of health.  The receipt for the service call had been left on the kitchen table, so I took a photo of it.  Note the text at the bottom that said “Prepaid coupon”.

Boiler clean and check

The point is that there is no industry standard for a furnace or boiler tune-up, so there’s no consistency in what you’ll get with a tune-up.  When hiring a heating contractor to “tune-up” your furnace, ask them what’s included.

Here’s a partial list of generic stuff that furnace manufacturers recommend be performed annually a qualified HVAC tech:

  • Check the vent system for blockage and/or leakage.  This includes the outside termination and the connections at and internal to the furnace.
  • Combustion gases analyzed and compared to the unit specs.
  • Blower access door checked to make sure it makes a tight seal.
  • Fresh air intake grills and louvers checked for blockage.
  • Heat exchanger inspected for rust and corrosion.
  • Burners checked for proper ignition, burner flame, and flame sense.
  • Drainage system checked for blockage and/or leakage.  This includes the hoses internal to the furnace.  The condensate drain and trap need to be cleaned, and the water replaced in the trap.
  • Blower wheel checked for debris and cleaned if necessary – this requires complete removal of the blower wheel.
  • An amp-draw test should be conducted on the blower motor and compared with what is listed.
  • Wiring checked for corrosion and damage.
  • Filters checked (this needs to be done much more frequently than annually).

Additionally, heating contractors say that they regularly do static air pressure checks, gas pressure testing, and temperature rise checks.

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Reuben Saltzman

Reuben Saltzman works for Structure Tech, a Minneapolis home inspection company that has been in business since 1987.