One of the most frequently asked questions we hear is, “Does my furnace really need to be cleaned every year?”
Or they change the intonation, “Does my furnace really need to be cleaned every year?”
Regardless of the tone of voice, it’s an understandable question. People don’t want to have to spend money unnecessarily!
Our answer is always the same – yes, your furnace really should be cleaned and tuned-up every year, by a qualified professional.
A qualified professional is someone who is NATE certified. NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence. This organization was founded almost 20 years ago to help ensure that technicians who installed and serviced HVAC equipment had the highest possible level of competence. A NATE-certified technician has undergone extensive training and been certified in the most stringent manner so that home-owners can be assured that their HVAC systems are in good hands.
So why should a furnace be cleaned every year?
- Reduce your energy bills
A clean furnace runs more efficiently. To cite only one example, dust and grime settle on fan blades and cause the motor to work harder. Clean fan blades mean the motor has to work less. Less energy used saves you money throughout the winter.
Another way to reduce your energy bill is to install a smart thermostat – which will help keep your home heated evenly.
- Reduce the likelihood of a furnace breakdown at an inopportune time
As with any other piece of equipment, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” “If potential problems are caught early, the cost to replace or repair is much less than if the problem is allowed to build and ultimately affect the whole furnace or even your home,” suggested Bill Leech, a founder of Summit Heating and Air Conditioning.
If your furnace should break down during winter, you may be without heat for several hours or even days. By ensuring your furnace is cleaned and tuned up before winter begins, you’ll reduce the likelihood of waking up in the middle of the night to a freezing home.
- Reduce health risks to your family
Furnaces do produce carbon monoxide. A clean, well-maintained furnace produces minuscule amounts of this odorless, colorless gas and vents it outside. A poorly maintained furnace may produce more carbon monoxide than is healthy.
In addition to having your furnace cleaned and tuned every year, be sure to install a couple of carbon monoxide alarms in your home – and check the batteries of these alarms at the same time as you have your furnace cleaned.
- Reduce chances of a voided warranty
Every new furnace will come with a warranty – but every warranty has certain conditions, and one of these is likely that you conduct yearly maintenance on your furnace. If something does go wrong with your furnace which results in a major repair bill, and you are unable to show that you had routine maintenance performed as the warranty called for, the warranty may be voided, and you’ll be responsible for those charges yourself.
What items will a technician check while cleaning and tuning up your furnace?
- Ductwork vibrations can loosen them, allowing heat to escape
- Blower motor may malfunction
- Bearings may need lubrication
- Air filters may be dirty
- Blower fan blades dust will attract dirt and oil, rendering them inefficient
- Condensing coil dust will attract dirt and oil, rendering them inefficient
- Belts may loosen
- Wiring may loosen
- Burners may not fire evenly
- Condensation drains may be blocked
- A/C system may have coolant leaks
When should you have your furnace cleaned?
The best time to have your furnace cleaned is before the onset of cold weather.
The earlier you call to schedule your cleaning, the better. For example, if you call at the end of August to schedule a cleaning for November, chances are very good you’ll be put on the schedule immediately. If you don’t call until November 1, your cleanup might not be able to be scheduled until December, when the cold weather and snow has already descended upon you.
By having this routine maintenance performed every year, you will extend the life of your furnace which will save you money in the long run. You’ll also be able to feel confident that your furnace is in tip-top shape to get you and your family through a long Denver winter.