Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

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Lynette
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by Lynette » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:49 pm

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Last edited by Lynette on Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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TinkerPDX
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by TinkerPDX » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:59 pm

Maintaining the warranty. Maybe I shouldn't have taken it as true, but when we had a new, ultra HE gas furnace installed a couple years back, they said the 10-year warranty could be voided if we didn't do annual maintenance. $80/year or whatever it is to cover all the above potential risks plus that seems reasonable to me.

As for all of those risks, you'd *probably* be fine never maintaining it. But you'd *probably* be fine never wearing a seatbelt too. Not a reason not to do it.

SleepKing
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by SleepKing » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:32 pm

We appear to be in the minority here, but we get ours checked prior to summer and winter. Have 2 AC and 2 gas furnace units. Each time <$100 for the service call and inspection/basic maintenance. System is almost 20 years old and some components break/need replacing frequently. I've googled and you tubed to double check the company and they appears to be honest. I buy the filters and humidifier panels online and they install them as part of the service.

Sleepy

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hand
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by hand » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:09 pm

dratkinson wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:23 pm

Wish someone would make AC-powered battery-backup smoke/fire and CO detectors that would talk to each other wirelessly, so it would be easy to extend the protection of such a wireless smoke/fire/CO network into each occupied bedroom. But as the alarms are loud, maybe a wireless network feature is overkill.
This functionality now exists. Nest Protect and likely others have AC powered / battery backup options. Pricey, but likely worth it to many (myself included).

lazydavid
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:04 pm

hand wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:09 pm
dratkinson wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:23 pm

Wish someone would make AC-powered battery-backup smoke/fire and CO detectors that would talk to each other wirelessly, so it would be easy to extend the protection of such a wireless smoke/fire/CO network into each occupied bedroom. But as the alarms are loud, maybe a wireless network feature is overkill.
This functionality now exists. Nest Protect and likely others have AC powered / battery backup options. Pricey, but likely worth it to many (myself included).
Yep, I have these all over my house. One in every bedroom, plus a few more in common areas. When one goes off, they all do, and say exactly what the problem is. They also warn you in advance if they're going to go off, like if there's some smoke coming out of the oven but it's not yet billowing and filling the room. And of course, they send alerts to your phone/tablet in case you're not home. Expensive, but totally worth it.

Where there were pre-existing boxes from old smoke detectors or lights that we had removed when we went to cans, I installed the AC units with battery backup. Everywhere else got the versions with 7-year batteries.

iamlucky13
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by iamlucky13 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:14 am

TinkerPDX wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:59 pm
Maintaining the warranty. Maybe I shouldn't have taken it as true, but when we had a new, ultra HE gas furnace installed a couple years back, they said the 10-year warranty could be voided if we didn't do annual maintenance. $80/year or whatever it is to cover all the above potential risks plus that seems reasonable to me.

As for all of those risks, you'd *probably* be fine never maintaining it. But you'd *probably* be fine never wearing a seatbelt too. Not a reason not to do it.
Generally it has to be a failure related to the lack of or improper maintenance in order to deny a claim. If a blower motor goes out, and they try to blame that on dirty burners, I'm pretty sure that would violate the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act.

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munemaker
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by munemaker » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:45 am

iamlucky13 wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:14 am
TinkerPDX wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:59 pm
Maintaining the warranty. Maybe I shouldn't have taken it as true, but when we had a new, ultra HE gas furnace installed a couple years back, they said the 10-year warranty could be voided if we didn't do annual maintenance. $80/year or whatever it is to cover all the above potential risks plus that seems reasonable to me.

As for all of those risks, you'd *probably* be fine never maintaining it. But you'd *probably* be fine never wearing a seatbelt too. Not a reason not to do it.
Generally it has to be a failure related to the lack of or improper maintenance in order to deny a claim. If a blower motor goes out, and they try to blame that on dirty burners, I'm pretty sure that would violate the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act.
"Never maintaining it" is not the same as maintaining it yourself.

I mentioned above that I had to have a service guy come because of a malfunction indication on the furnace controller; turned out to be a loose wire. The guy told me that with new installations, warranty is void if you do not have them service the furnace annually. Doesn't seem legal. My suspicion is they are just trying to not get cheated out of what they view as "guaranteed" supporting business. Perhaps new gas furnaces are so reliable, they no longer need annual service.

A manufacturer requiring annual dealer maintenance on your furnace would be like an auto manufacturer requiring you to have their dealer service the car annually to enable the warranty.

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queso
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by queso » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:29 am

Yep. Had a service contract in place from the previous owner when we moved in so when they called I had them come out since it was already paid for. Followed him around while he performed "annual service" on 2 furnaces and 2 AC condensers. Tried not to laugh until he left. When the time came to renew I passed. I'd recommend at least following your guy/gal around and seeing what he/she does (mine ran some fine sandpaper over the flame sensors and "looked around" inside the cabinet and checked my filters and that was about it). It might surprise you when you realize what is involved. Similarly, when the AC or heat goes out often the problem is something very trivial to fix (capacitor, induction blower, pressure switch, fuse, etc.) and you can fix it for under $100. The last time I had a problem with one of my furnaces I did the diagnosis myself and then called the HVAC guy. I texted him a picture of the inside of the unit and he quoted me $600-700 installed. Part was $80 on Amazon and took me about 10 minutes.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:43 am

lazydavid wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:55 am
We do each system once a year, at $89/shot. The first few years were included with our installation, and we just started paying last year. In addition to the obvious advantage of making sure everything is running in tip-top shape, annual maintenance is a requirement for this particular installer's lifetime warranty (parts + labor) on the system.

When my Father-in-Law, who lives with us, found out we were going to start paying for the service, he took it upon himself to take the covers off the condenser and clean it himself. He did building maintenance for 32 years before he retired, so this is not a job he was unfamiliar with. In the process, he fell and broke his hip, requiring surgery and rehabilitation at a cost well over $100k (insurance picked up much of the tab, but it still cost us a substantial sum). We had to cancel a pre-paid vacation and take a bunch of time off of work to help him through that.

The kicker? We STILL paid the $89 to have them come out and do the service, so all that suffering (literal and figurative) was for naught.
Sorry to hear about your father-in-law's injury. I hope he has a good recovery. And this is why I pay someone to perform maintenance on my HVAC (natural gas for the heater side) every 2-3 years. The unit is on the roof and I don't do well with ladders or heights. I know my limitations and anything involving the roof gets a professional.

I also check that the company has a proper license for the work and paid worker's comp insurance through the California web portal for checking on the license status of contractors. That way, if the worker gets injured conducting the work, I know the company has the proper insurance to cover it. We had a case locally where a business didn't pay attention to when the contractor's license and insurance expired, then someone got seriously hurt a few days after both had expired and the contractor had not yet renewed either. It did not turn out well financially for the business that had hired the contractor.

sport
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by sport » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:13 pm

I received a notice with my electric bill: The electric company (First Energy) is offering a $50 rebate for an HVAC tune-up, now through the end of the year.

squirm
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by squirm » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:44 pm

queso wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:29 am
Yep. Had a service contract in place from the previous owner when we moved in so when they called I had them come out since it was already paid for. Followed him around while he performed "annual service" on 2 furnaces and 2 AC condensers. Tried not to laugh until he left. When the time came to renew I passed. I'd recommend at least following your guy/gal around and seeing what he/she does (mine ran some fine sandpaper over the flame sensors and "looked around" inside the cabinet and checked my filters and that was about it). It might surprise you when you realize what is involved. Similarly, when the AC or heat goes out often the problem is something very trivial to fix (capacitor, induction blower, pressure switch, fuse, etc.) and you can fix it for under $100. The last time I had a problem with one of my furnaces I did the diagnosis myself and then called the HVAC guy. I texted him a picture of the inside of the unit and he quoted me $600-700 installed. Part was $80 on Amazon and took me about 10 minutes.
I had to have a guy come out and put in some freon... I told him I already cleaned the internal evap coils and not to bother with an upsell.

Personally I'd never would pay for these maintenance "services" they're pretty much a joke.

cadreamer2015
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by cadreamer2015 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:49 pm

In our area the local gas utility will do a safety check of your gas appliances for free. So every fall we schedule them to come out and check the furnace, gas water heater and gas clothes dryer. Even if it cost a few bucks I would have an annual safety check - the consequences of a furnace failure could range from seriously inconvenient to seriously unsafe.
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Trader Joe
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by Trader Joe » Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:58 pm

Yes, it is a waste of money yearly.

ImUrHuckleberry
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:07 pm

samsoes wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:27 pm
For oil furnaces, annual service is a necessity. Heating oil is a dirty fuel and the very least needs to be inspected and cleaned annually.
This is why I do it annually for our oil burning furnace.

quantAndHold
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:22 pm

cadreamer2015 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:49 pm
In our area the local gas utility will do a safety check of your gas appliances for free. So every fall we schedule them to come out and check the furnace, gas water heater and gas clothes dryer. Even if it cost a few bucks I would have an annual safety check - the consequences of a furnace failure could range from seriously inconvenient to seriously unsafe.
Us too. Everyone I know in San Diego takes advantage of SDG&E’s free gas appliance check.

We’ve been in our house for 22 years. 21 of the inspections were uneventful. On the other one, he found a cracked heat exchanger, and we got a new furnace before the weather got cold and we gassed ourselves.

Wellfleet
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by Wellfleet » Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:27 pm

ImUrHuckleberry wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:07 pm
samsoes wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:27 pm
For oil furnaces, annual service is a necessity. Heating oil is a dirty fuel and the very least needs to be inspected and cleaned annually.
This is why I do it annually for our oil burning furnace.
Are you in a state that now requires ultra low sulfur diesel? If so, I’ve looked at some research from NYSERDA/Brookhaven National Lab that ULSD burns as cleanly as natural gas, reducing particulate matter (soot) deposits.

ImUrHuckleberry
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:31 pm

Wellfleet wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:27 pm
ImUrHuckleberry wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:07 pm
samsoes wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:27 pm
For oil furnaces, annual service is a necessity. Heating oil is a dirty fuel and the very least needs to be inspected and cleaned annually.
This is why I do it annually for our oil burning furnace.
Are you in a state that now requires ultra low sulfur diesel? If so, I’ve looked at some research from NYSERDA/Brookhaven National Lab that ULSD burns as cleanly as natural gas, reducing particulate matter (soot) deposits.
I don't think so. I think we just get regular home heating oil. New Hampshire.

likegarden
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by likegarden » Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:40 pm

It is not a waste of my $230 each year to get our heating (natural gas furnace and warm water heat) in January and central A/C (air handler in attic of 2-story house, compressor outside) in April checked out. The maintenance people are from the company which installed the equipment and are trained for this.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:09 pm

Chiming in late, but nonetheless for readers other than OP, who seems to have sensibly capitulated two years ago:

Of course it's a waste of money, if by spring it ends up not having killed you and your family with carbon monoxide during the winter.

Anyhow, even if it did do that, one's family would inherit a few hundred dollars more.

Oh, right.

PJW

Wellfleet
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by Wellfleet » Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:18 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:09 pm
Chiming in late, but nonetheless for readers other than OP, who seems to have sensibly capitulated two years ago:

Of course it's a waste of money, if by spring it ends up not having killed you and your family with carbon monoxide during the winter.

Anyhow, even if it did do that, one's family would inherit a few hundred dollars more.

Oh, right.

PJW
Are carbon monoxide detectors not required in all states? Our house would need to experience simultaneous failure of Battery operated CO detectors in basement and bedroom floors to be at risk. Code required local fire department to inspect prior to us purchasing house.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:45 pm

Wellfleet wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:18 pm
Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:09 pm
Chiming in late, but nonetheless for readers other than OP, who seems to have sensibly capitulated two years ago:

Of course it's a waste of money, if by spring it ends up not having killed you and your family with carbon monoxide during the winter.

Anyhow, even if it did do that, one's family would inherit a few hundred dollars more.

Oh, right.

PJW
Are carbon monoxide detectors not required in all states? Our house would need to experience simultaneous failure of Battery operated CO detectors in basement and bedroom floors to be at risk. Code required local fire department to inspect prior to us purchasing house.
Thank you.

CO detectors help if they work, and if their alarms go off before everybody is already unconscious.

CO detectors help post-purchase if they haven't silently failed. They're electro-mechanical devices.

CO detectors help if one faithfully maintains them during their whole lives, and notices and acts when it's time for replacement, and doesn't do so in lieu of maintaining furnace safety which is the prevention plan.

A CO detector is a backup device, to come into play if the situation to be avoided already occurred. In project management it's called a contingency plan. One is an incompetent project manager, or even merely risk manager, if one goes without a prevention plan. The contingency plan only applies if the prevention plan, despite everyone's best efforts, fails.

Cars have seat belts, and airbags too. They're contingency plans.

I don't get to tell you what deadly risks to accept for your family, and you don't get to tell me for mine. If you'll excuse me, I'll decline any future kind invitation for anybody I'm responsible for to sleep in your house.

My statement, although originally improvidently lightly expressed, stands.

PJW

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:45 pm

ImUrHuckleberry wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:31 pm
Wellfleet wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:27 pm
ImUrHuckleberry wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:07 pm
samsoes wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:27 pm
For oil furnaces, annual service is a necessity. Heating oil is a dirty fuel and the very least needs to be inspected and cleaned annually.
This is why I do it annually for our oil burning furnace.
Are you in a state that now requires ultra low sulfur diesel? If so, I’ve looked at some research from NYSERDA/Brookhaven National Lab that ULSD burns as cleanly as natural gas, reducing particulate matter (soot) deposits.
I don't think so. I think we just get regular home heating oil. New Hampshire.
Home heating oil is also known as #2 oil. The commercial heating oil is known as #6 and is way more “dirty” to burn.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

ImUrHuckleberry
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:48 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:45 pm
ImUrHuckleberry wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:31 pm
Wellfleet wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:27 pm
ImUrHuckleberry wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:07 pm
samsoes wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:27 pm
For oil furnaces, annual service is a necessity. Heating oil is a dirty fuel and the very least needs to be inspected and cleaned annually.
This is why I do it annually for our oil burning furnace.
Are you in a state that now requires ultra low sulfur diesel? If so, I’ve looked at some research from NYSERDA/Brookhaven National Lab that ULSD burns as cleanly as natural gas, reducing particulate matter (soot) deposits.
I don't think so. I think we just get regular home heating oil. New Hampshire.
Home heating oil is also known as #2 oil. The commercial heating oil is known as #6 and is way more “dirty” to burn.
Yes, we get #2 oil.

We have a high efficiency burner which becomes an extra low efficiency burner if it's not serviced regularly. It also gets louder for some reason.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:58 pm

ImUrHuckleberry wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:48 pm
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:45 pm
ImUrHuckleberry wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:31 pm
Wellfleet wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:27 pm
ImUrHuckleberry wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:07 pm


This is why I do it annually for our oil burning furnace.
Are you in a state that now requires ultra low sulfur diesel? If so, I’ve looked at some research from NYSERDA/Brookhaven National Lab that ULSD burns as cleanly as natural gas, reducing particulate matter (soot) deposits.
I don't think so. I think we just get regular home heating oil. New Hampshire.
Home heating oil is also known as #2 oil. The commercial heating oil is known as #6 and is way more “dirty” to burn.
Yes, we get #2 oil.

We have a high efficiency burner which becomes an extra low efficiency burner if it's not serviced regularly. It also gets louder for some reason.
Probably has something to do with particulate matter.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

jharkin
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by jharkin » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:46 pm

If the furnace is oil fired it should be serviced yearly, as they have to clean soot out of the heat exchanger, replace filters and nozzles and run a combustion tune to set the burner A/F ratio.

If this is gas equipment, there is nothing that needs cleaning, and typically nothing that can be ‘tuned’other than setting the gas regulator pressure (and once set it won’t change unless it breaks) First year I lived in a house with a gas boiler, I called service, the Tech was surprisingly honest, said that he was happy to take my money but there really was nothing for him to do.
.....

lazydavid
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Re: Is it a waste of money having your furnace checked every year?

Post by lazydavid » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:48 pm

Wellfleet wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:27 pm
Are you in a state that now requires ultra low sulfur diesel? If so, I’ve looked at some research from NYSERDA/Brookhaven National Lab that ULSD burns as cleanly as natural gas, reducing particulate matter (soot) deposits.
I don't buy this. My car runs on ULSD, and the particulate filter still fills with soot every ~400 miles that has to be burned off by a regeneration cycle--basically dumping a bunch of fuel into the DPF and igniting it to get it up over 850 degrees C for 15 minutes or so. if ULSD burned as cleanly as natural gas, I wouldn't even need a DPF in the first place.

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