As a homeowner and a consumer, it’s easy to be skeptical when a heating and air conditioning company suggests you get an annual furnace inspection. It probably sounds like a sales pitch to you, and since you’ve never had annual maintenance done on your furnace before and everything has been fine, it’s got to be some kind of sales scam, right?
The truth is, annual furnace inspections really are an important part of home maintenance.
The experts to listen to on this topic aren’t HVAC contractors like us, either. Instead, listen to the furnace manufacturers themselves. Every furnace manufacturer recommends annual service and maintenance on their products. Further, these manufacturers include language in their warranties indicating that damage caused by improper maintenance, or a lack of maintenance, is not covered under warranty. (To be clear, the chances of you having a warranty claim rejected because you didn’t have annual inspections are exceedingly slim, though take note that they can ask for your service records before approving a warranty claim.)
According to a report on the subject from Angie’s List, “The manufacturers that built them all agree on this; you should get it serviced once [a year] for heating and once for cooling,” said Paul Mills, an HVAC tech from North Carolina. “Tuning it up and checking it out is definitely recommended. Much like a car, if you ignore it, a lot more things break. You [will] extend the life of it and help prevent major breakdowns.”
Annual inspections can be referred to a number of ways, but the terms are largely interchangeable. Annual maintenance, a checkup, a “tune up,” and others. All mean basically the same thing: a thorough review of your furnace and related systems by a qualified professional, checking for leaks, blockages, rust, corrosion, wear and tear on parts, and overall safety. Sometimes this might include a cleaning, too, if necessary.
No, you’re not going to discover some expensive problem with it every year – and that’s the point. The idea is to prevent problems before they happen, extending the lifespan of your furnace and addressing issues before they become expensive fixes.
In fact, more than half of no-heat service calls made during the winter could have been avoided had the furnace been serviced in the autumn.
As Fox Business noted in its report on the topic, “The best analogy is going to the dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning; probably not necessary, but recommended.”
Depending on the age of your furnace, there is some flexibility in how often you get yours serviced. If you have a new furnace, it’s safe to have inspections every other year. When your furnace is over a decade old, however, an annual inspection is recommended.
A further benefit of annual maintenance is that it can help your heating system operate more efficiently, which means spending less money on your energy bills. Even routine maintenance you can do yourself can make a big difference. According to Energy Star, a branch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), simply changing your air filters every three months can result in a reduction in your energy bills. A programmable thermostat can help, too.
Want to more about what is entailed with annual furnace maintenance? Contact us at (732) 244-2880 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.