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Furnace Maintenance & Indoor Air Quality

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Published on Jan 27, 2016

A home’s furnace provides a warm and comfortable indoor environment during cold weather. Like all systems in a home, a furnace requires preventive maintenance to ensure that it is working properly, efficiently and is providing good indoor air quality (IAQ).

A large percentage of homes in North America rely on a central forced-air furnace that is powered by natural gas, fuel oil or electricity to heat air that is then transferred throughout the property through ducts. A furnace that is not working properly could be wasting energy and even threatening the health of building occupants if combustion gases such as carbon monoxide are entering the air in the home. Forced-air furnaces can also cause indoor air quality issues by spreading particulates and even mold and other allergens throughout the home if the system’s air filtration is lacking or the ductwork is contaminated.

To ensure the system is working properly, it is a good idea to have it checked annually by a qualified professional.

Before the unit is serviced, it is important that any fuel supply and electricity to the unit is shut off. Furnace filters should be regularly changed and this step can be easily accomplished by most homeowners. These may be located at the furnace or in the air supply return in a wall or ceiling. Some furnaces also have a fresh air intake filter.

The air blower and motor housing should also be inspected and cleaned. Units with a combustion chamber are checked for any buildup of soot and carbon that is then removed. The flue pipe is also inspected for any holes, blockages and signs of corrosion. This is an important step to ensure deadly carbon monoxide is not a threat to building occupants. Furnaces powered by fuel oil should have their oil filter replaced. The service technician will also often use a combustion analyzer to determine the unit’s efficiency and make any needed adjustments.

Finally, the home’s ductwork should also be inspected for dust, debris and other materials that could reduce the system’s efficiency and impact the home’s air quality.

These are just a few things to know about furnace maintenance and indoor air quality. To learn more about this or other indoor environmental, health, safety, occupational or property issues, please visit the websites shown below.

Clark Seif Clark http://www.csceng.com
EMSL Analytical, Inc. http://www.emsl.com
LA Testing http://www.latesting.com
Zimmetry Environmental http://www.zimmetry.com
Healthy Indoors Magazine http://www.iaq.net
Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters http://HudsonDouglasPublicAdjusters.com

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