Keep the Heat on With Your HVAC Pro
When late summer finally rolls around, the furnace is usually the furthest
thing from your mind. Many of us are still in denial that summer will soon
be over, so why worry about heating when it's warm outside? Why worry?
Because the first cold snap is not the time to find out your heating system
needs to be serviced or replaced.
Call your HVAC pro. A gas-fired, forced-air heating system requires an
inspection at least every two years to adjust the burners, and check the flue
and ducts, while a heat pump needs annual attention. Oil-fired burners
require annual maintenance, too. Some chores are easy enough to handle
yourself but are nonetheless important, namely changing or cleaning the
filter every month. A dirty air filter costs you money. Apart from avoiding
failures, money is the best reason to keep your system at peak efficiency.
Depending on where you live and the system you use, a dirty or poorly
maintained system can cost you up to 25 percent in heating and cooling
Actually, late summer is the perfect time to hire a professional for that
long overdue inspection. It's a lull between the heating and cooling seasons
when HVAC companies are not so busy, so it's easier to schedule them for a
service call. Whom should you hire? Try to match the company's expertise
with your furnace, ideally someone who installs and services the same brand
equipment you own. Also, don't call the first company that drops a flyer in
your mailbox. Check with your friends, neighbors or co-workers first. Whom
do they use and how have they performed? Ask the company for references in
your area and call them. Finally, make sure the company has liability
insurance and workman's compensation policies in effect. That's a basic
precaution for hiring any type of home service.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, the saying goes but how do you know when to
replace it? If your furnace is more than 15 years old, it's time to consider
buying a new one. A major purchase of new HVAC equipment seems easier to put
off, but remember that newer systems burn less fuel and cost less to operate.
Ask your contractor for a pay-back calculation that shows how many years it
will take for the new equipment to pay for itself in energy savings. Your
contractor should crunch the numbers based on the types of equipment, the
fuel (gas, oil, or electric), and your regional heating or cooling load.
Finally, remember that the equipment you purchase is only as good as the
contractor who installs it. Make sure that your contractor properly sizes
your unit to match your home's ductwork and energy needs, using a heat-loss
Sources used to create this article include Danny Lipford and Today's