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Late Winter—How Your Heater May Have Worn Down

winter-sceneThe last full (official) month of winter is often the hardest part of the entire season. Deep freezes, snowstorms, ice storms, and general unpleasant, well, coldness. If you’ve lived in Colorado Springs for at least one full winter, you know what you’re in for. 

But you may not have considered how your heater is handling it all. If you prepped it in fall with professional maintenance, you might think it’ll stay in perfect shape for the whole season. It certainly has a much better chance of making it through a winter without needing heater repair in Monument, CO if it had maintenance—but the heater will still suffer from major wear as it helps keep the cold from invading your home.

The Winter Travails of Your Heating System

What can have happened to your central heating system during the winter? Let’s take a look at how the heater can have worn down and entered into a risky zone where it might need repair work.

  • Loss of lubrication for moving parts: All heating systems have motors of some kind. Even boilers have motors to run their circulator pump. Heat pumps use several motors. Any motor suffers from wear because of the mechanical motion of its moving parts. Proper lubrication will keep the wear from causing the motor to overheat. But the lubrication can wear off over the season and put the motors in jeopardy. Pay close attention to any sounds of shrieking or grinding that may indicate a worn down motor.
  • Ventilation obstruction: For any gas-powered heating system, such as a furnace or boiler, proper venting for exhaust fumes after the heating cycle is vital for safe operation. The exhaust goes up a flue, but the flue can develop obstructions over time. A poorly venting furnace or boiler won’t necessarily become hazardous right away, but it will become less efficient and begin to age faster, possibly leading to corrosion in the heat exchanger. 
  • Dirt and grime on the burners: Dirt and grime aren’t good for any part of a heating system, but we want to draw attention to where they can cause the most damage the most rapidly, and that’s the gas burners for a furnace or boiler. When the burners become dirty with dust or carbon particles after a few months of operation, it makes it harder for them to ignite. The heater may experience ignition delays, make booming sounds, and become less reliable. Cleaning the burners isn’t a DIY job, since the burners must first be detached so they may be chemically cleaned. 
  • Failed electronic ignition: Modern gas furnaces and boilers no longer use pilot lights to ignite the burners, but instead electronic ignition systems. These igniters aren’t designed to last for the lifetime of the heating system, so you can expect to have one of them start to fail during one winter. Have repair pros look into a heater that’s having trouble getting the burners lit or which is making excessive clicking sounds at start-up.

Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning offers 24-hour emergency service. Call us for help with your heating in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area.

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