There is a lot to love about fall…relief from the hot days of summer, football, the rich and varied colors of autumn leaves as the trees prepare for winter, apple cider, pumpkin patches and plenty more. With the cooler daytime temperatures, many homeowners take a little more time to take care of some the maintenance they put off during the peak heat months of summer. Some of the common items on those checklists include raking leaves, trimming trees, cleaning gutters, caulking windows, and changing batteries in your smoke detectors. What frequently gets left off fall home maintenance lists is getting a furnace cleaning and maintenance visit. Yet, it might be the most important thing you can do to ensure that you stay safe and comfortable until spring.
1.Furnace Cleanings are like Washing Anything Else
You wash your clothes, your dishes, your car, even your house. Things get dirty. Because of entropy. Eventually, everything returns to a state of disorder, unless you maintain it. To keep your furnace maintained requires a fairly small amount of maintenance. Change your air filters regularly and once a year, schedule a furnace cleaning and safety check. Furnaces burn natural gas (or propane). There is never complete combustion, so there is always some waste left behind. This fine ash can eventually gunk up the burner system in your furnace, reducing efficiency or causing it to stop working. A furnace cleaning restores the burner system. It also allows the technician to inspect the system to make sure there are no other small problems that will eventually cause larger issues.
2.Discover Safety Issues
Carbon monoxide is produced by furnaces when they burn gas to heat your home. When everything is working properly, the waste gasses, including carbon monoxide are swept out of your home and mix safely with the outside air. You are unlikely to notice if something happens which prevents proper exhaust because carbon monoxide is colorless and orderless. Carbon monoxide alarms are a good defense, but so is an annual safety check on your furnace. Carbon monoxide issues are not common, but they can be deadly when they happen.
3.Avoid Uncomfortable Breakdowns
Your not going to discover a furnace problem yourself unless your house starts getting cold. Unless your furnace breakdown announces itself with a loud noise (like the blower motor breaking), your house is probably going to be uncomfortable by the time you reach for the phone to call for a furnace repair. In mild temperatures, most reasonably insulated homes won’t get really cold very quickly. But even a drop of 1 degree/hour can cause a problem.
Consider this scenario. The most common temperature range to set your heating system to is 70-75 degrees. So let’s say you’ve set your thermostat to 72 degrees and your furnace stops working an hour or two before bed. The house might drop off to 70 degrees when you go to bed and you probably won’t really notice that something is wrong. But when you wake up 8 hours later, the temperature in the house has dropped to a very uncomfortable 62 degrees. You call for service, but now you’ll have to stay home from work to let the technician in. A couple hours later, when you were fortunate enough to be pretty high on the list, the technician arrives and finds your house at 60 degrees.
Here’s where things can get better quickly or get worse.
- The technician finds the problem and is able to fix it and get the heat back running within the hour. Problem solved, temperature starts recovering. You leave for a shorter than normal workday and return home to a comfortable house.
- There is a serious problem with your furnace and it needs to be replaced or the repair isn’t going to be cost effective. Now you have to determine what to do and quickly to keep your home livable.
Now back yourself up to a month before the heating season started and consider what happens instead if you have your furnace cleaned and inspected as part of a regular maintenance program.
- The technician that comes to perform maintenance on your system finds a minor problem with the furnace. It is an easy repair and you are all set for the heating season.
- The technician starts performing your furnace maintenance and discovers a major issue that wasn’t quite enough to shut it down at the end of the last heating season, but will likely cause you to lose heat shortly after the furnace is turned on this year. Temperatures outside are still very moderate, the month or so each fall that you normally don’t use much heating or cooling. You take a few days to figure settle on a new system, arrange financing and it is installed in time to provide heat all winter long.