The cold winters in Downers Grove, IL, require a properly functioning heating system to keep your home safe and comfortable. If your heater malfunctions, you’ll need a prompt repair. After the repair is complete and before the technicians leave your home, be sure to ask these six essential questions.

1. What Caused This Problem?

It’s important to know what caused the issue with your heating system. Many heating system problems are simply the result of routine use and would occur no matter what you did or did not do. For example, a power fluctuation may damage the capacitor in your electric furnace, boiler or heat pump. You can’t control this. Other heating system issues may develop as a result of neglected maintenance, faulty installation or a manufacturing problem. If the problem is a result of wear and tear or skipped annual maintenance visits, this gives you an opportunity to take action and prevent a similar problem from recurring.

2. Could This Happen Again?

Once your technician identifies the fault with your heating system, you may want to know if this particular issue is likely to be repeated. For example, a heat pump with a refrigerant leak can be recharged, but unless the cause of the leak is addressed, the loss will persist. If the technician offers different solutions for the problem, you’ll want to know whether one of them will prevent a repeat occurrence. Replacing a damaged coil could prevent additional refrigerant leaks in a heat pump, but this repair would cost more than a simple recharging of the system.

3. Is This Repair a Short-Term or Long-Term Fix?

Some heating repairs are designed to be a short-term solution while you make the plans to have a new system installed. Other types of heating system repairs resolve the issue on a long-term basis. It’s wise to ask your technician how long this repair will last, whether anything else is likely to go wrong this winter and if you should be looking into a system replacement in the coming months.

4. Is There Anything I Can Do to Prevent This in the Future?

Many heating repairs can be avoided by scheduling an annual maintenance visit. For example, excessive wear and tear often results from inadequate lubrication of the system’s moving parts. During an annual tune-up, our technicians at Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc. clean and lubricate these parts, which minimizes wear and tear caused by friction. Operating your heating system with a dirty air filter can also lead to malfunctions. We recommend changing the filter every one to three months. Be sure to ask your technician if there are any other steps you can take to prevent the problem from recurring.

5. How Much Longer Will My Heating System Last?

As heating systems get older, more parts are likely to fail. If your heater’s capacitor goes bad one month, it’s possible that the heat exchanger, fan or motor could go bad soon thereafter. You’ll want to know whether more parts are likely to fail soon and how much longer your heating system would reasonably be expected to last. When a repair costs more than 20% of the price of a new heating system and your current equipment is at least 10 years old, a replacement may be the better choice. If your heating system has reached its life expectancy and needs a repair, this is a good time to consider a proactive replacement in order to avoid any disruptions to your comfort.

6. When Should I Schedule My Next Heating System Service?

Many heating system malfunctions can be avoided with routine maintenance. We recommend an annual heating tune-up. Ideally, you should schedule this visit in the early autumn. This gives our technicians plenty of time to perform all the necessary maintenance tasks and identify any potential problems. If we notice a worn or damaged part, there will be enough time to replace it before the cold winter air arrives.

Not in need of heating repairs today? At Fire 'n' Ice Heating & Cooling, Inc., we also offer air conditioner repair and heating and cooling maintenance, replacement and installation services. Our indoor air quality solutions can keep your home’s air clean and healthy. If you’re a business owner in Downers Grove or the surrounding area, you can also count on us for reliable commercial HVAC services. For more tips on the questions to ask after a heating repair in your home, call us today.

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