In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to forget about the unsung hero of every Edmonton winter (and no, I don’t mean Santa). I’m talking about your furnace. With all of the elevated spending that naturally occurs in December, it can be hard to justify shelling out the extra bucks to have your furnace inspected and cleaned.

Why do I need to have my furnace and air ducts cleaned and inspected?

Routine tune-ups ensure that your furnace runs at its maximum performance. Also, regular maintenance often reduces fuel consumption, which actually saves you money in the long run.

My furnace is over 10 years old. How often do I need to have it cleaned?

Annually, without question. Older furnaces need regular attention. Proper maintenance involves cleaning the burners, checking the heat exchanger for cracks, changing the thermocouple, oiling the bearings, testing the belt, checking the limit switch, and cleaning the flue pipe. Dirt is the biggest enemy of older furnaces and there a lot of places for it to hide, therefore having it cleaned once per year is highly recommended.

I have a new central heating system that virtually monitors itself; therefore I don’t think my furnace needs to be inspected annually. Am I right?

It’s true; modern-day furnaces are much more sophisticated than their older counterparts. Burners don’t get dirty because they are in a closed environment. The limit switch, blower, gas valve, and safety controls are all now run by a circuit board. The blowers don’t even need to be oiled. Newer furnaces are designed to shut off automatically at the onset of any problem – which can be both good and bad. Good because it rules out the absolute necessity to pay for regular maintenance, but bad if your furnace shuts down without warning in the dead of winter. Furnace failure CAN be avoided with regular maintenance, therefore annual cleanings are also recommended for newer furnaces. This is especially true if you own a cat or dog. Pet hair is one of the main culprits that clog your air ducts. By being proactive, you can fix a furnace problem before it starts.

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