Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

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URSnshn
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Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:10 pm

Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by URSnshn »

My family has been physically distancing and taking the recommended measures during Covid-19. We live in the Northeast and annual heating and cooling yearly maintenance is upcoming. This is not an emergency - everything is running well. I'm thinking of skipping it this year and rescheduling it for Spring - is annual furnace maintenance an absolute necessity in this times?

edited for clarity above and: Gas Furnace, air conditioning unit - about 20 years old - running well.
Last edited by URSnshn on Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I do it. They come in with gloves, a mask and booties. Its a straight shot however from the door to the thermostat and then the attic stairs where the HVAC unit is. I use the same company and the same technician every time. I figure I would rather have him than have a problem on a weekend and not get who I want.

When I made the appointment, they told me that they would not come in my house unless I wore a mask.
Last edited by Mr. Rumples on Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
neilpilot
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Location: Memphis area

Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by neilpilot »

I've owned 5 homes since 1975, and my current home has 3 HVAC units. I've have never had annual furnace maintenance other than DIY (light pilot if needed and change air filters). So far I don't think I've had issues resulting from my lack of "annual maintenance".
J45
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Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:39 pm

Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by J45 »

I am not an expert but I did it yearly for 4-5 years because my furnaces were 17-18 years older. But based on what each of the HVAC guys told me, I dont think its required to do it every year as long as you change your filters.

If they are very old, every 2 years should be ok unless you are having problems. You dont want to pay $$$$ for an urgent problem in the middle of the winter because they will charge extra service fee.
Chuck107
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by Chuck107 »

Skip it till Spring.
carolinaman
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by carolinaman »

I have an independent HVAC tech service my system on spring and fall. In spring he cleans the AC coils which is important for efficiency and longevity of AC. In fall, he check the gas furnace to make sure it is working ok. I see this as a safety check of the gas furnace. I pay $195 a year for his 2 service visits. Is it worth it? I think so. Had I consistently serviced by last 2 HVAC systems, they would have last several more years, performed better and safer. YMMV
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Ged
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by Ged »

I am much more worried about Dr visits.
jebmke
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by jebmke »

We had our summer check done; I did the filters and set the thermostat down so the system would run. He checked the outside units, checked and cleaned the air handler.

Will have same done for winter.

We get ours checked every year. One year the condensate pump was not functioning at the start of cooling season and they replaced it free under warranty. It would have left a lot of condensate in the crawl space had we not detected it before summer.

I should add, positivity rates are fairly low in my area (~2%) and mask compliance is high.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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lthenderson
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by lthenderson »

Never have paid to have a furnace maintained. I just clean/replace the filter, sweep the electronics bay gently if needed, fire it up once to verify it will do so when the time comes and call it good. A forced air furnace is simply a gas burner, a blower fan and some circuit boards. I'm not sure what their is to maintain other than the filter? Are the checking the furnace blinker fluid level?
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by FrugalInvestor »

When living in mild climates I've had my system serviced every 2-3 years, less often when new and more often as it got older. When living in severely cold or hot climates I've had it serviced annually.
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify, but most importantly....Ignore the Noise!
daheld
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by daheld »

You don't need to pay for annual furnace maintenance. As lthenderson said, if it's just a typical forced air system, it's a simple setup that does not require much maintenance. Keep a clean filter in it, pull the covers off every year or two to make sure things aren't super dirty and the condensate drain isn't about to clog.
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BolderBoy
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by BolderBoy »

I have mine checked/cleaned every 2-3 years. The tech was here yesterday. I'm consistent in changing my filters every 3 months (the tech said that is the single most important thing for the resident to do.)

18 year old furnace, never had any trouble.

He wore a mask, I wore a mask and I didn't feel at risk at any time.
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NavyIC3
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by NavyIC3 »

carolinaman wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:08 am I have an independent HVAC tech service my system on spring and fall. In spring he cleans the AC coils which is important for efficiency and longevity of AC. In fall, he check the gas furnace to make sure it is working ok. I see this as a safety check of the gas furnace. I pay $195 a year for his 2 service visits. Is it worth it? I think so. Had I consistently serviced by last 2 HVAC systems, they would have last several more years, performed better and safer. YMMV
Does the tech perform a combustion test on the furnace in order to check the heat exchanger? If not, probably not doing much in the way of safety since there are many safety checks when the furnace goes through it''s starting sequence.
vested1
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by vested1 »

We have two systems and have lived in the house for a year. We purchased a maintenance agreement for both systems with the same company who installed the downstairs 2 ton system 5 years ago. The upstairs 3 ton system is 11 years old. This maintenance agreement covers both systems for 2 visits in the spring/summer for AC and in the fall/winter for heating. The cost was $220 a year. If you have a non-maintenance issue the labor rate is $189 an hour.

The technician who came out to check the AC (we were at the end of the summer period) cleaned the units interiors outside and opened the interior units, checking the p traps and clearing them if they were partially clogged. He checked the current on all four units in two places with a clamp on current detector, which from my previous professional electronics experience is the only safe and effective way to determine actual current without interrupting the circuit. He will come back in November to check the heating on both systems. He handed me the new filters he was going to replace because I had done so before he arrived.

He found that the older upstairs system needed 2 pounds of refrigerant and added that at about $70 a pound. There was no labor to add the refrigerant. I accompanied him the entire time, even when walking the ceiling joists in the attic to check the horizontal heat pump there. During the visit he answered all my questions, which was great, and made suggestions that would save us money, and prolong the lives of the systems. He could have easily made suggestions that were to the benefit of the company he worked for instead.

He wore a face mask, gloves and booties the entire time to protect us, and myself and my wife wore masks while he was there to protect him as well. We didn't shake hands and stayed several feet apart at a minimum.

Edited to add that the previous owner had no professional maintenance done in the 4 years they had owned the house.
lazydavid
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by lazydavid »

Annual maintenance visits are required for our units to maintain the lifetime warranty. So we just had ours about 3 weeks ago. Not a big deal, the technician wore a mask, gloves and booties (even though I told him not to, as our house is all porcelain/wood). When the work was done, he processed it on his phone, and said I didn't have to touch the phone (to sign) if I wasn't comfortable.
michelef
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Re: Furnace / Air Maintenance and Covid-19?

Post by michelef »

Our HVAC guy owns his own business and does all the work himself. He does not offer a yearly maintenance plan because he says this is not necessary. We follow his recommendation to have the AC units serviced every 2 years and the furnaces every 3 years.
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