What’s wrong with my furnace?
We as inspectors are required to inspect the heating systems using normal operating controls. We have to have the knowledge and understanding on how the system works, to identify possible defects, and being able to explain the following:
- the heating system;
- its heating method;
- its type or identification;
- how the heating system operates;
- how to maintain the furnace; and
- other common problems that may be found
It is up to the inspector’s judgment as to how detailed the inspection and report will be.
A TYPICAL HIGH EFFICIENCY FURNACE
Let’s take a look at a typical high efficiency furnace. The one we are showing is a bit older but allows to explain the points we mentioned since it is similar in design and performance.
This is a gas fired furnace. It has problems associated with lack of maintenance and age.
- With a visual inspection, the condition of the lines and hoses can easily be checked. In time, the lines and hoses get worn, brittle and often leak.
- Just by listening, you can determine the condition of inducer blowers and blower motors. Unusual loud and rumbling noises are indicators that something is (very) wrong with the furnace.
- Check the condensate traps, they need to be cleaned and flushed out regularly. If you neglect to do this, the trap plugs up and water backs up into the pressure switch …. shutting the furnace down.
- Watch for signs of rusting throughout the cabinet, leakage in or around the outside of the cabinet. Noticing a powdery substance towards the back of the cabinet when inspecting the blower compartment? This indicates that a bad secondary heat exchanger is probably pitting and might need to be replaced. Another indicator that the furnace has a bad heat exchanger. Look inside the large hose by detaching it from the trap. In case of a bad heat exchanger, will be rusted and smell very sooty. If it starts tio burn your eyes, turn the furnace switch off and call your professional heating contractor.
As you can see, we will inspect your furnace thoroughly during a home inspection.