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

Thanks for the question. I retired recently and have started to notice things that went wrong around my house. The floor where the gas furnace is located in my basement had a lot of brown residue on it. I cleaned it. A few months later - same problem. I called to have the furnace and air-conditioner cleaned. The maintenance guy said that the pump wasn't working. i signed up for a bi-yearly inspection - in the fall the emphasis will be on the furnace and in the spring on air conditioning unit. The guy replaced the pump that he said wasn't working at all. The total bill was about $450 - (including the two-year contract.) Oh well! I've had this company for at least 20 years and trust them.

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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.

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.

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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Location: Sunny California

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.

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