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Posted by By Eric Smith on Wed Oct 9th, 2019 at 12:29 pm




Now that's a great question! The inside of a furnace is pretty complicated from a component standpoint, but the principle of a furnaces operation is very basic. In order for a furnace to run it must be able to draw in intake air for combustion, evacuate the exhaust gases created from combustion, ignite the gas, move the warmed air through the home and dispose of condensation made during the process. All of these basic furnace functions can be interrupted if annual maintenance is skipped. In other words, as your furnace runs, it is creating problems for itself.


Here are a few examples of common problems solved or avoided by a Polar Express Guru Furnace Tune-up and the technical explanation for why each one occurs:


Venting system blocked- While a furnace is running in fall, and while the leaves are falling off the trees, its very common for a furnace vent to draw in a leaf or two. One or two leaves may not cause much of a problem but if it were to take in one or two every year, after a few years the leaves would block of the air intake for your furnace and cause the furnace not to run. This can be checked with specialty diagnostic tools or simply taking the vent system apart and visually inspecting.


General Cleaning- Natural gas is a clean burning fuel but not 100% clean. As the furnace uses natural gas to run, there is exhaust building up on the ignition components inside the furnace. It may take a year or two, but eventually the residue left behind can coat certain components enough that they will fail causing the furnace to not work at all. In addition to ignition system components getting dirty, the furnace burners become clogged with rust and debris during the normal burning process. When this happens the gas doesn't ignite properly which means your paying for gas that never got used to heat your just gets blown outside in the exhaust. Cleaning ignition related components and the burners every year will prevent this from happening.


Drain System Plugged- While your furnace is burning gas, it is also making condensation which runs through a drain trap into your homes drain system. In between run cycles and especially in the off season, this water is left to sit stagnant and becomes very slimy. As the water evaporates, the slime that is left in the drain tubes dries into hard flakes within the furnace's drain system. It only takes a few chunks of this furnace sludge to slow down the drain enough for water to leak out of areas of the furnace that shouldn't leak. In many cases, something as simple as plugged drain can cause much larger problems if the water ends up on the circuit board or another electrical component.


Furnace Overheating- When air movement is restricted through the HVAC system, the internal temperature of the furnace rises. All furnaces have safety switches inside them to prevent the furnace from overheating and causing a safety issue. Air flow can be restricted by dirty filters, undersized duct work, and/or too many vents being closed in the home. During the tune-up, important air movement readings are taken to verify that your furnace has the proper airflow to cool itself off. If the furnace gets too hot, it will shut down.


All of the situations I mentioned above are some of the most common reasons for "no heat" calls we go to, and all of them are completely avoidable by having your system tuned up each year by a Polar Express Guru!


If you encounter a furnace problem this winter and have skipped annual service, no Polar Express Heating and Air Conditioning! It's never too early or late to schedule your annual tune-up 262-367-3266.

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