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How Often Should You Have Your Furnace Serviced

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Most of the time, your furnace is “out of sight, out of mind,” doing its job in the background, keeping your home warm and comfortable without requiring any thought or effort from you. Eventually, however, your furnace will require maintenance to ensure it’s working properly and to catch any problems that are developing before they lead to expensive repairs.

How often should you have your furnace serviced? How do you go about finding the right maintenance contractor? How much should you expect to spend? The answers to these questions depend upon the type of furnace you use and your location.

Facts About Furnaces

As you are probably aware, there are many different methods of home heating, and each comes with its own set of requirements as far as maintenance is concerned. In general, however, most systems operate by the same principle: some type of fuel is used to generate heat. This heat then warms the surrounding air. In most cases, the air is then circulated throughout a system of ductwork through the use of a large fan.

This is the basic way that a furnace operates, but beyond that, there may be key differences between the various methods of heating the home. For example, one fuel source that has become extremely common in modern homes is propane. Propane burns extremely hot, making it one of the most efficient methods for generating heat. Natural gas is also a great way of generating heat in a very cost-effective manner.

With some of these methods, you may run into problems in their acquisition. For instance, while propane may be inexpensive, this is only true if you live in an area with easy access to them. Some homeowners decide that the energy efficiency is worth importing propane and installing a tank on their property. Others may decide that the expense of doing this isn’t worth it and opt for an alternative heating method. You need to weigh your options and choose what’s best for you.

Why Is Maintenance Required?

Like any mechanical system, the parts making up a furnace in the home will gradually degrade. How quickly they degrade and how severe the degradation largely depends on how often the furnace is used—which in turn depends on the climate and on the type of service it receives.

A furnace is actually part of a very complex HVAC system, with many different moving parts that each will need attention eventually. Your furnace will usually be serviced as part of the general maintenance of your entire HVAC system. This means that the furnace will be inspected, along with the ducts, the electrical components of your heater, and possibly your air conditioner as well.

What Does Furnace Maintenance Involve?

As far as the furnace itself goes, maintenance is required on many different elements. Usually, a thermostat signals your furnace when it should turn on and off, and a short circuit in that thermostat can send a faulty signal, ultimately causing your furnace to work harder than it needs to and driving your heating bill up.

Other elements of your furnace, such as the burners, will collect dirt and grime over time that can ultimately interfere with their ability to efficiently generate heat energy. Furnace maintenance involves cleaning all of these elements; just doing this alone can often reduce the cost of your energy bill.

There are also moving parts, such as the blower fan, in your furnace that can lose their efficiency over time. Eventually, metal will rust and need to be replaced. Simple lubrication can often help these parts operate with greater efficiency. Your HVAC contractor, who is responsible for servicing your furnace, will inspect and oil the moving parts in the inducer fan and blower motor.

When Do You Call Your HVAC Contractor?

How often should you have your furnace serviced? Well, the answer does tend to vary a bit depending on how much use the furnace is getting. If you live in a temperate climate, your furnace may not see a lot of use, which means it may not require maintenance as often as the furnace in a colder part of the country. On the other hand, however, a furnace that sits without being used too much may also deteriorate, simply from lack of use.

In general, then, you should opt for basic maintenance for your furnace around once a year or so. This maintenance isn’t expensive; provided there aren’t any major problems, basic maintenance costs should be reasonable.

Most homeowners tend to have theirs maintained far less than once a year. As a result, they may experience catastrophic problems that can prove to be extremely expensive.

Problems with your furnace don’t need to be catastrophic to cost you money, however. In fact, you may not even notice them. However, over time, they can cause your energy bill to gradually tick up. Ultimately, this can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars without you even realizing there’s an issue.

Who Should Perform the Maintenance?

Finding a good HVAC contractor isn’t always an easy task. You need someone who is experienced and certified by the various organizations that ensure quality control for HVAC professionals, such as ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers). It’s a good idea to ask around: check with your neighbors and see if they have used contractors that operate in your area.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, one of the best contractors you can choose to go with is Entek. Having been in business since 1945, our team has spent decades maintaining various types of furnaces, and chances are, we have worked on one that’s exactly like yours. We also offer emergency services, which can be critical if your furnace fails during a particularly cold time. We also offer basic maintenance and will even keep track of your maintenance schedule with our Planned Maintenance Programs. Contact Entek to learn more today.

 

 

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