The furnace is one of the most critical parts of a home, and one that every homeowner dreads breaking down. Nothing is worse than a furnace not working in the dead of winter, which if not fixed quickly can lead to other serious problems like frozen pipes. Unfortunately, as many homeowners have found out, an emergency furnace fix is not cheap, and with no other options it can be a huge financial burden.
As most homeowners know, one of the best ways to avoid surprise furnace failures is to have it serviced and inspected regularly. These service visits can not only help prevent or catch issues, but can also extend the life of your furnace. Today, we’ll look at how often you should get your furnace service, as well as what to expect from a HVAC technician.
How Often Should I Get My Furnace Serviced?
In general, you’ll want to get your furnace serviced at least once per year. Most people do this in the fall before the furnace sees it’s most heavy usage period.
This is important as it not only makes sure the furnace will perform at its highest capacity, but also catches any issues before they become an issue. You don’t want your furnace going on in the winter because of a preventable issue.
Outside of the regular service calls you’ll also want to be sure to switch out your furnace filter every few months. It depends on the size of the filter, but generally this should be done every 3-6 months. Giving your filter a spot check every few months, and if it’s difficult to see the filter material you’ll want to change it. You should have it changed during a regular service call, but it’s best to also change it a couple times between each call.
Should I Get My Furnace Service If Nothing is Wrong?
Yes, even if nothing is wrong it’s a good idea to get it checked over and serviced, usually once per year. Estimates vary a bit, but upwards of 75% of no heat calls are because of issues that would have been caught during a routine inspection.
Even if you think your furnace is working correctly there may be issues that simply haven’t affected it yet. By getting your furnace serviced you can rest easy knowing that nothing will crop up unexpectedly during the winter.
A furnace inspection will also look at certain dangerous issues that could affect you and your families health. For example, a cracked heat exchanger can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. A professional HVAC technician will always check this, and make sure it’s in working order.
How Do I Know If Something is Wrong?
Most furnaces come with a small indicator light somewhere on the outer panel. During proper use, this light will be solid. If it’s blinking that means there is something wrong. In particular, pay attention to how the light blinks. Many furnaces will have a code of short and long pulses of light. This is the error code that corresponds to a particular issue. To figure out what the issue is consult your furnace manual; many of these are also available online.
You might also notice impaired functions such as intermediate shut offs or less efficient heating. These can all be symptoms of larger problems, and regular service can help prevent these.
What Happens at a Furnace Service Appointment?
For the exact specifics it’s best to talk to the technician when they arrive or ask the company what’s included in their service. In general, they’ll take a look at all the major pieces of the furnace, and make sure nothing is broken or in danger of breaking. They’ll also run through all the key functions of the furnace, and make sure that every step is running correctly. Keep in mind, different companies will call this service different things; so words like service, inspection, or tune up are oftentimes the same service.
Overall, making sure to get a furnace inspection at least once a year is important to keeping your furnace in overall working condition. It’s also important to the safety of the people in your home, so it’s very important not to put this off. If it’s been some time since your last service make it a point to get someone out soon to give you and your family peace of mind.