Photograph of  a modern oil-fired heating boiler Heating System Inspect, Diagnose, Repair

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Heating system installation, repair, maintenance:

How to inspect, diagnose & repair residential heating systems: these heating system articles answer questions about all types of building heating systems and describe how to inspect, diagnose, and repair heating system problems, how to cut heating bills, and heating system safety, heating system efficiency and heating trouble-shooting advice.

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Heating System Inspection Methods, Diagnosis, Safety, Repairs

Gas furnace schematic (C) Carson Dunlop AssociatesIn these heating system articles we explain how to inspect and detect all defects and hazards on heating systems, boilers, furnaces, and other equipment. Methods for saving on heating cost and on improving heating safety are included.

Heating safety hazards such as carbon monoxide gas leaks, unsafe furnaces, furnace and boiler recalls are addressed.

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Our page top photo illustrates an oil fired hot water heating boiler. The sketch at above left illustrates basic parts of a conventional gas fired warm air heating furnace; image courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.

The heating system inspection, diagnosis and repair articles listed at page top or at the MORE READING links at the bottom of this article and described below give the components of a heating system, describe how to find the rated heating capacity of an heating system by examining various data tags and components, explain how to recognize common heating system operating or safety defects, and illustrate how to save money on home heating costs. We include product safety recall and other heating system hazards.

To find what you need quickly, if you don't want to scroll through this index you are welcome to use the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX to search InspectApedia for specific articles and information.

Potentially very costly environmental hazards such as leaky oil tanks are explained in depth. Other environmental and indoor air quality topics affected by residential and light commercial heating systems are explored.

How to Inspect Heating Systems

Oil burner in bath vanity (C) Daniel FriedmanBuilding HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) have three tasks: control indoor temperature and humidity at comfortable levels, provide adequate fresh air from outdoors, and the removal of indoor air odors and pollutants by a combination of air pressure control, filtration, and exhaust ventilation systems.

But not all HVAC systems are designed to perform all three of these jobs, and in typical residential buildings separate, and un-coordinated systems may be installed to heat, ventilate, and perhaps cool the building interior.

Start a heating system inspection with basic "distant" visual observations

A proper heating system inspection begins outside with taking notice of the chimneys, flues, and vents, and for the type and location of heating equipment fuel that is used: oil tanks, LP gas, piped in natural gas, solar, etc.

Similarly, inside, before attempting a close inspection of the heating equipment itself, take not of and record defects in the heating distribution system (is there even heat present in every room?), and in the location of the heating equipment: is the boiler in a closet where it lacks combustion air, fire clearances etc.

What about the oil burner shown at above left - observed during a mobile home inspection?

From just opening the bathroom sink vanity we see that an oil burner has been shoe-horned into a space where it does not belong, is unsafe, and is extremely difficult to access and service properly.

Watch out: From the moment of observing work such as the system shown in our photo, the inspector, owner, or heating service technician needs to be on red alert for amateur, unsafe workmanship.

Below and at the links listed at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article we provide articles on just about any question you might have about installing, inspecting, troubleshooting, & repairing residential heating systems. Use the Website Search box at page top or the Comments Box at the end of each InspectApedia article to contact us if you cannot find information you need.

For a step by step procedure that can be used to inspect the condition of a heating system
see: HEATING SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR where we suggest detailed step by step approaches for inspecting complex systems - a free, online, detailed heating system inspection course

Critical Defects in Heating Systems

Critical defects which an inspector should not fail to detect when examining any building component or system are defects which form an immediate, significant safety hazard or defects which are quite likely to involve significant repair or replacement cost, and which involve components or systems which are necessary to occupy and use the building.

Methods for detection and diagnosis of these defects are discussed in this document and in its references. Suggestions for inclusion or exclusion of items in this list are invited - see the link "Contact Us".

Sooty gas burner (C) Daniel FriedmanBecause the heating system inspection and related topics discussed here cover a rather broad range, I have not attempted (yet) to list specific critical defects on this summary page. However any inspection of the condition of heating equipment in buildings must include careful attention to:

Heating System Inspection & Diagnosis Detailed Articles & Education Curriculum Suggestions

How to Reduce Home Heating Costs


Continue reading at BOILER CONTROLS & SWITCHES or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see BOILERS, HEATING - home

Or see ELECTRIC HEAT - home



Or see HVAC SYSTEM TYPES for a more complete list of types of heating and cooling systems & equipment & diagnostic procedures

Or see HEATING SYSTEM FAQs - questions & answers posted originally in this article

Suggested citation for this web page

HEATING SYSTEMS at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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