Tips On Having Your Furnace Serviced

November 04, 2013

The ideal time to have your furnace serviced is in the summer or fall when repair and maintenance companies aren’t as busy and prices may be more reasonable. But, don’t despair if it has slipped your mind; just be prepared to wait longer for a service appointment and possibly pay a higher price.

While most maintenance contractors are reputable, the furnace “scam artists” are on the move during the fall months. And unfortunately, hundreds of unsuspecting homeowners become victims of their fraudulent and unscrupulous activities. Better Business Bureau offers the following tips so that you don’t get taken to the “cleaners” instead.

  1. Don’t fall for phone solicitations that offer “low cost” or “free” furnace cleaning. Once in the home, the contractor may falsely tell homeowners that their heating system has serious problems that require immediate attention.
  2. Don’t hire someone who comes to your door with a “Shop-vac” type vacuum offering to clean your heating ducts. A proper cleaning requires a high volume vacuum system, maybe even a steam process.
  3. Don’t hire or sign a contract just because the contractor says you face possible illness or death if the furnace isn’t replaced immediately. If told that the furnace threatens your health, ask for a written copy of the contractor’s result and call your local utility company.
  4. If furnace repair or replacement is recommended, get at least three independent written estimates, from qualified licensed contractors, that fully describe the services and materials that will be provided. When comparing estimates, evaluate the price, type of service, warranty, and energy efficiency of the unit. 
  5. Do maintain your furnace by cleaning air returns with a household vacuum cleaner and changing the filter at least three times during the heating season.

All types of furnaces should be serviced annually. In addition, a gas furnace needs to be cleaned no less that every two years, and oil furnaces no less that every year. For recommendations on qualified licensed furnace contractors ask friends, relatives, or co-workers, and check the company out with BBB.

If you find that your furnace needs repair, first check the warranty to find out whether any repairs or replacement parts are covered. Also, check to see if annual maintenance is required to maintain the warranty. If you have to buy a new furnace, you should choose a unit that’s just large enough to handle the demands of your household. Don’t waste money on a furnace that is larger than you need.