A Home Inspector's recommendation about heating equipment maintenace.

There are a few things that home inspectors recommend about the maintenance of heating systems. It is recommended that mechanical heating equipment be serviced on an annual basis. Oil furnaces have nozzles and strainers that need to be replaced on an annual basis or the efficiency of the furnace drops dramatically. Newer gas units can be serviced every couple of years. Once a gas unit gets to be over 10 years old, it should have annual maintenance checkups.


In a forced air heating and or cooling system, the blower and motor must be protected from dirt and dust. For this reason, filters are in the return air side of the blower unit. A standard filter should be changed monthly. Some filters can be changed or cleaned less frequently, depending on the manufacturers specifications and usage of the equipment. One of the most common recommendations in a home inspection is the changing of the HVAC filter. Clogged or missing filters can do serious damage to the heat exchanger and air-conditioning evaporators..


The blower, blower motor, or hot water circulating pump motor should be oiled twice a year, unless they have sealed bearings. Refer to the owner’s manual for how much and what type of oil to use.


If you have any oil heater, periodically check the oil tank for leaks. If you notice oily smoke smells or soot, have the unit serviced. Oil furnaces must be serviced on an annual basis.

Keep bleaches, paint, and other materials sealed and away from heating systems. Damage to the heat exchanger can occur if fumes from these products are drawn into the heating unit.

During a home inspection your inspector will take the flame shield off your heating unit. One of the many things that home inspectors check for is a "dancing flame" when the fan from a forced air unit comes on. This can mean there is damage to the heat exhchanger which could be allowing carbon monoxide and other dangerous exhaust gasses into the home!