The windows at your home are probably close down for the winter. Gardening tools are stored, rakes and leaf blowers are out and you are preparing yourself for another winter in northeast Ohio. The check list to prepare your home for the winter is probably done, and you wonder whether you can skip this year furnace check up to save some money. Among the many things a homeowner should pay attention to, is to make sure the furnace gets an annual check up to make sure is properly functioning thus saving them money in the long run. You can follow the links below for more information about furnace’s checkups and whether they are necessary.
Yes folks, it is the time of year when the furnace becomes a bigger part of home comfort and you should pay attention to its maintenance.
It is said that a furnace older than five years should have a clean and check done annually. A technician will go through it and clean out the spider webs, check gas pressures, and most importantly, check the heat exchanger to make sure it isn’t cracked. During this coming winter I can guarantee you will read or hear about someone who died due to a cracked heat exchanger. It is called the silent killer and if it doesn’t take a life, it will mess up someone’s brain worse than any drug on the street. It’s also a method of consumer fraud still being used today by any unethical service company. Don’t be afraid to call your energy company for a second opinion if someone says you have a defective heat exchanger and especially if they use high pressure tactics to sell you a new furnace.
Your furnace filter should be replaced and change the batteries in your programmable thermostat. When dealing with a furnace company make sure it is a good reputable company and don’t be afraid to call for more than one estimate.
In a recent blog post about fall maintenance for Minnesota homeowners, I mentioned having your furnace inspected / tuned up by a qualified heating contractor annually. One reader sent me an email asking if this was really necessary – here’s his original question:
I have a question about furnace tune-ups. You say get one every year – is that really necessary? What do the HVAC guys actually do to the furnace to “tune” it up? There’s no spark plugs to replace like a car tune-up, and my understanding is they basically vacuum out dust and inspect it. Couldn’t the homeowner do this himself? Or do I really need to pay $80-150 bucks every year for a professional to do it?
I think these are great questions worthy of a post all on their own.
Are annual furnace inspections really necessary? Furnace manufacturers all recommend annual inspections and maintenance by a qualified technician. They also have language in their warranties saying that damage to the units caused by improper maintenance is not covered under warranty.
Now’s the time to service your heating system
Before chilly autumn nights set in, you need to make an appointment for your furnace’s annual checkup. Without this yearly cleaning and inspection, a system can wear itself out quickly, pump deadly carbon monoxide into your home, or simply stop working.
We asked This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey to show us the proper steps that a service professional would follow for an oil-burning forced-air furnace; the basics on a gas system are similar. In both, fuel is mixed with air and ignited, heating a sealed chamber. Fresh, filtered air then blows across the outside of the hot chamber and into the heating ducts. (Homes with radiators have boilers instead of furnaces. These heat water instead of air, but the annual checkup is similar.) In all, the dangerous exhaust from the combustion chamber is vented out a flue or chimney.