A fall crispness is in the air, and that’s a sign that winter is just around the bend. So, before cold air comes, it’s a good time to schedule a furnace inspection to ensure you’ll stay toasty warm all season long. Here are the four things you need to know before getting a home furnace inspection.
1. Ask For Recommendations
First, you want to make sure you are hiring the best company for your furnace check-up. No one wants to be left out in the cold come January if their furnace breaks down. A professional, reputable company is your best bet when it comes to making sure that doesn’t happen. Ask your neighbors and friends for recommendations.
We’ve also put together a few articles on tracking down the best company for your needs here:
- Winter Prep: How to Find the Best Heating Service in Your Area
- How to Find the Best Heating Repair Company
- Call Now for Your Fall HVAC Preventative Maintenance
2. Keep The Work Area Clean
Once you’ve decided on the company to hire, it’s a good idea to clear the area where the tech will be working.
“Many have a specified time allotted, or are working with a quoted price, so you don’t want the tech to spend valuable time moving furnishings or laundry out of the way,” says Keith Hill, technical support manager for Minnesota Air.
Keith reminds homeowners to clean the outside area as well as the inside of the home if they are also doing a furnace vent or air conditioner inspection. Make sure that shrubs, bushes, and plants are trimmed or moved out of the way so it’s easy for the technician to have access to the area. If it’s located in a fenced in area, make sure that it’s unlocked and no pets, like a dog, would be a hindrance to performing the inspection.
3. Know What To Expect During An Inspection
Keith says a good furnace inspection should include a combustion efficiency test and a safety test, so make sure they are included.
“To do a proper safety and combustion test, the tech will use a digital combustion analyzer and should be able to show you the readings or print it out for your records,” he says. “The test readings should include carbon monoxide, flue gas temperature, carbon dioxide or oxygen, and percentage combustion efficiency. The tech should be able to explain all of the readings and what that means for your system.”
Also, get an estimate of what your inspection will cost to help you avoid sticker shock. Keith says prices will vary depending on furnace location and accessibility, how comprehensive the test is, and the type of fuel used – testing fuel oil furnaces will cost more than natural gas furnaces. He says the typical price for an inspection will range from $90 to $200.
“Some include heat exchanger inspections, and those can be as simple as a visual inspection with a flashlight, or a digital scope that will ‘see’ more of the heat exchanger surfaces. That can be another $100 add to the inspection,” he says.
You’ll also want to make sure that your filter is clean, unless you want to pay them to do maintenance in addition to an inspection. It will cost you an extra fee because you didn’t have basic maintenance done prior to the inspection. Changing a filter is relatively easy, however, some homeowners would rather leave everything up to a professional.
4. It’s OK To Ask Questions
If there is something the technician does that you don’t understand, ask about it. If there is a charge on your bill and you don’t know what it’s for, have them clarify. And, of course, ask for any advice and recommendations they have for maintaining and improving your furnace’s efficiency. It will save you the headache of a furnace breakdown later in the season and keep your HVAC running longer.