Autumn has arrived and as the temperature outside drops, the dial on your thermostat rises. If you have neglected your home heating system since last season, you should schedule an appointment for its annual checkup as soon as possible. Although heating and cooling systems are relatively low maintenance and trouble free, regular check-ups ensure they keep functioning properly.  Without regular furnace service and cleaning, your heating system can wear out, blow poisonous carbon monoxide, or simply quit working. You may have an oil-burning, gas, or electric furnace that vary slightly in parts and care, but general maintenance is similar. This is not a how-to, it just offers suggestions on what should be done each year to keep your heating system healthy and your home warm this winter, refer to your owner’s manual or HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) expert for the specifics on the how-to.
(*safety note for do-it-yourselfers: first turn off the power supply before attempting any step listed!*).


  • Inspect burner flames. A clean, properly working system will have blue flames, while yellow flames are indicative of dirty burners.
  • Clean the burners (*safety note: first turn off the burners and let them cool down!*), pilot or hot surface ignitors, and flame sensors to ensure safe burning.
  • Adjust the burner and test efficiency to ensure proper fuel to air ratio.
  • Clean the combustion chamber. Remove built-up soot and check for holes or corrosion.
  • Inspect the flue pipe for holes or corrosions. Adjust the barometric damper, weight it if necessary.
  • Replace the oil filter (if you have an oil-powered system).
  • Change the air filter.
  • Clean the blower.
  • Check the blower’s belt for wear and tension, adjust if necessary.
  • Lightly oil bearings.
  • Clean floor vents to be sure all dust and pet hair is removed.


If any of the following happen, do NOT attempt to fix it yourself (unless you are a certified HVAC specialist, of course), call a residential HVAC specialist immediately.


  • Short cycling: meaning your furnace runs for short periods and then shuts off
  • Irregular flames: if the flame is oddly shaped, colored, or leans to one side
  • Rumbling, popping, or any other strange noise
  • You and/or your family suffer from frequent headaches or flu-like symptoms while home, as this could indicate a carbon monoxide leak.
  • Soot deposits: although they can be cleaned, it indicates a larger problem in the burning process.


Residential heating systems should be serviced at a minimum, annually. Many people overlook making the appointment until autumn is upon us and the chilly evenings have us turning the heat on. In addition to annual inspections and tune-ups, there are seasonally based responsibilities to keep your heater and air conditioner functioning at peak condition. It is a good idea to have your home heating and air conditioning systems serviced regularly to prevent costly repair. The easiest thing to do is to find a trusted residential HVAC company and purchase a maintenance agreement, set it and forget it! Service Mechanical Controls of Salt Lake City is your premier source for maintenance, service, and repair of your home heating and air conditioning systems, call for a free estimate today.