We’ve had a warm autumn, but the leaves are falling and the nights are getting chilly. Have you turned on heat yet this season? Last week, we gave a sneak preview for what may turn out to be an expensive winter for fuel costs. We’ve written plenty of tips and tricks for winter energy efficiency, but this week we have a question for you: have you taken a look at your furnace lately? Your fuel consumption, and how much your fuel will cost you, rests on the shoulders on your furnace. Ignore it at your own peril! How much does annual furnace maintenance cost? Do you really need furnace maintenance every year? We’ve got some answers to your questions.
The Workhorse of Your Winter
It seems like a no-brainer, but now is the perfect time to get a good look at your furnace because the days are still warm and the nights are cool, but not cold. If something goes wrong or you need to make a major decision about your home heating, it’s better to know now, while temperatures are manageable, than in the middle of winter. Furthermore, giving your system a check-up now means you won’t have a catastrophic system failure when the snow starts and the temperatures hit their inevitable lows. While you’re at it, this is a great time to have other major winter systems inspected, like your chimney or wood burning stove. If you heat your home with oil, ask your oil delivery service to check your tank for leaks or other failures.
There are a few things that you can do yourself to ensure that your furnace is working properly, including changing your HVAC filters to ensure proper airflow. The bulk of the work, however, should be done by a professional.
Regular maintenance on your gas or oil furnace can extend the life of your system by a matter of years. An annual cleaning from a HVAC professional generally includes an inspection of the equipment. Thorough cleaning of the combustion area, electrodes, fan and other major parts are also part of the work. Moving parts are lubricated, and filters are replaced. Electrical connections and voltage, and your thermostat settings will be checked to ensure proper function.
An annual preventative inspection and tune-up from a local provider can cost anywhere as low as $85 or as high as $150, depending on the package. Compare that to a potential $1,500 emergency service call if you wake up on a winter morning with no heat. This is also significantly better than spending upwards of $7,500 for a new furnace!
A Matter of Safety
Having your furnace inspected and maintained is also important for protecting against potential carbon monoxide leaks. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that, if left undetected, can lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea or, in extreme cases, death. According to the CDC, at least 430 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning in the US every year.
What More You Can Do
Want to do more to make sure your heating system is efficient and effective this upcoming winter? We’ve got plenty of tips and tricks! One of the things you can do is think about installing a programmable thermostat. If you haven’t purchased a programmable thermostat, which can save you approximately 10% on your heating bills by lowering the temperature when you’re not home or when you’re sleeping, there is no time like the present. Programmable thermostats are not as expensive as you think they are, with some costing as low as $50. Massachusetts residents may be eligible for a free programmable thermostat thanks to government subsidized energy programs like Revise Energy.
By combining a well-maintained, efficient heating system with a programmable thermostat, you can look forward to a comfortable, yet affordable, winter season ahead.
Is it necessary to have your furnace inspected every year? Absolutely. It’s vital for the health, safety and comfort of your family during the cold winter months. An ounce of prevention means a season of warmth, and the relatively low cost and prevent against costly repair or replacement, especially when you need the heat the most. If you have been putting off this vital service, now is the time to make your appointment so you can have the peace of mind while the cold air settles in.
Wondering why a solar company cares about your winter comfort? Solar Five supports New England families in their quest for safe, warm and efficient homes, no matter how they get their energy. If you’re curious if solar energy could make a difference in your energy bills this winter, we would be delighted to talk to you. Give us a call or fill out our form today!
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