A client of mine who is a licensed oil burner mechanic just gave me a couple fantastic tips about frequently occuring mechanical issues with modular homes in Yellowknife.
1. Check Your Thermostat Battery
A lot of folks don't know that their digital thermostats are battery operated. Sometimes, the battery will still have enough power to light up the display, but not to turn on the furnace. If your thermostat is battery operated (99% of them are) then it will have an icon on it that tells you how much charge you have left. If it ever starts to blink or otherwise indicates that it's low on power, change the battery immediately.
2. Chimney Ice Buildup
Modular homes experience more ice buildup on their chimneys than other types of homes. If the ice builds up too much it will cut off the oxygen to your furnace and the furnace will cut out. If you have the right safety gear, you can knock this ice off yourself rather than calling a mechanic. Or, you may be able to knock the ice off from the top off a long ladder using a pole of some kind. But as with all of these tips, it is far better to let a professional handle this task than to take it on yourself.
3. Inadequate Door Vents
A very common problem in Yellowknife is that mechanical room doors often have inadequate venting. There should be as many square inches of venting in your door as there are in the panel that covers your furnace. If your venting is inadequate the furnace will suck hot air back down the chimney and this will substantially shorten the life of your furnace. Worse yet, some contractors will mistakenly diagnose this as a heat exchanger problem and will offer to replace it for you to the tune of about $1,700.
4. Wireless Thermostats
Worried about your furnace cutting out while you're at work for the day ? Honeywell makes a thermostat that you can access from anywhere via wireless signal. You can change the temperature in your house from half way around the world! And if the temperature ever drops too low, the thermostat will send you an e-mail. The thermostat itself costs about $200 and you'll need to pay a mechanic a couple hours of labour to install it. Smart investment, in my opinion.
5. Have Your Furnace Serviced Annually (this tip is from me, not my client)
Many first time home buyers are unaware that they absolutely must have their furnace serviced on an annual basis. If you don't, there is a very good chance your furnace will cut out on you in the middle of winter. And make sure you keep a copy of your service invoices in your household information file. That way you can prove to future buyers that you took good care of your furnace.
Please keep in mind, I'm not a licensed oil burner mechanic. The tips above may point you in the right direction, but you should always double check with your mechanical contractor before making any changes.
If you can think of any tips I should add to this post, please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.