October 2nd 2018
Valleyshore Plumbing and Heating in Langley, BC offers plumbing, heating, gas fitting, and backflow prevention services to residential and commercial customers across the Lower Mainland. Our Red Seal certified plumber and gas fitter is keen to share knowledge that will give folks an edge on prevention and regular maintenance to help avoid crises.
Having your furnace, boiler, and on-demand hot water systems inspected annually helps prevent the expense and inconvenience that go along with emergency "no heat" moments that always seem to happen after hours! Apart from avoiding crises, having a professional inspect your heating and hot water systems annually ensures all components are functioning properly, and improves their efficiency and overall longevity.
A furnace is a forced warm air heating system that is commonly powered by electricity, natural gas, or fuel oil. Furnace inspections are ideally booked for late summer or early fall before cold temperatures arrive and your furnace is needed. The inspection shouldn't take very long, and the technician will be primarily inspecting and cleaning some components of the filter system, fan, blower, and components within the furnace itself. You will be informed of any repair needs before furnace parts are reassembled.
One thing homeowners can do is check and change furnace filters approximately every 3 months. If you are unsure how to do this, ask for a demo during your next annual furnace inspection. Filter changes greatly improve the safety and efficiency of your furnace, and are not to be underestimated. Filter changes also can contribute to lower energy bills.
Boilers are not synonymous with water heaters. While the latter is a tank that heats and stores water, a boiler does not store water, and is more complex. A boiler is the vessel or box in which water is pressurized and heated, but also includes the associated fittings and external piping. In households, boiler heating systems typically heat and pump hot water through pipes to radiators (or tubing in the case of radiant floor heating). Boilers can also heat domestic hot water through a storage tank. Boilers are commonly powered by natural gas.
At an annual inspection, a technician will be inspecting boiler components and controls, including the thermostat, aquastat, and valves that regulate water circulation and temperature.
There are very few working parts in an on-demand system, and the primary maintenance concern involves scaling in the system from hard water. Buildup of scale, especially on the heating element (aka the heat exchanger),is a greater risk if your thermostat is set too high. If the heat exchanger gets too built up with hard water minerals such as calcium and magnesium, water flow is inhibited and your system will be working harder to do its job. This can directly affect your natural gas bill, may void a manufacturer's warranty and, most importantly, it could damage your system beyond repair.
An annual inspection - or more often if you have very hard water - will not take long and will include flushing/descaling the heating element of minerals and checking that all components are in good working order. Filter screens and condensate trap, condensate neutralizer media are other components that will be checked and cleaned during an annual inspection.
Valleyshore Plumbing and Heating would be happy to answer further questions and to schedule inspections for your heating and hot water systems in the Lower Mainland. Fall is upon us, and the cold months are soon to follow. So contact us soon to check that your heating systems are working properly. We want to know our customers are keeping warm!