You’ve decided it’s the right time to get the furnace maintenance you’ve heard so much about. While you have technicians in your home working on your system, don’t let the opportunity pass without tapping into their wealth of knowledge. Consider these nine questions to ask while technicians are performing your next furnace tune-up.
1. What’s Included With the Tune-Up?
It seems a bit obvious and probably something to ask before you schedule a tune-up, but you should be aware of what’s included. The basics are the same, including some amount of cleaning, system testing, and some tightening and adjustments of parts.
However, exactly what that entails may vary from one company to another. For instance, some companies have different levels of tune-up service; others are an all-or-nothing approach. Things that may vary from one service provider to another are items like cleaning your heat exchanger and the burner in your furnace or cleaning the electric heating coil.
Ultimately, it’s important to know what’s included but, more importantly, what’s not included. This would be a secondary question to pose to your technician. Technicians should have an idea of what would be included in an ideal maintenance protocol versus what they are providing. Some companies deliver the ideal set of maintenance tasks with every tune-up.
2. What Is the Condition of Your Furnace?
Inspecting and testing your system is a significant part of your annual furnace tune-up. During this process, your technician will get a sense of its overall condition.
That condition is a critical indicator of how much time you have before needing to replace it with a newer unit. As technicians talk about the overall condition, be sure to ask them how soon they think you’ll need a new one. They probably aren’t going to predict an exact date. However, they will be able to give you an idea if you still have several years or if you need to plan for a replacement in the next year or two.
3. Are There Minor Things That Need Attention?
Along with the condition, technicians may identify minor problems or components operating sub-optimally. If they don’t offer this information, be sure to ask them.
When you catch small problems early, you can avoid excessive strain on the rest of the system. This helps keep your heating costs lower and reduces the amount you’re going to pay out in more substantial repairs. What may be a $100 fix now could lead to a $1,000 repair if ignored long enough.
4. How Often Should You Replace Your Furnace Filter?
Many companies will check your furnace filter for you during the inspection, but they won’t likely change it without an additional charge for the filter itself. They check it because it is one of the most critical ongoing maintenance tasks that many homeowners neglect.
A key way to help you determine how often you should change it is by asking your maintenance technicians. They’ll consider the size filter you have, whether it’s flat or pleated, and the amount of overall buildup that was in your furnace, which gives an indication of air quality. All of these factors play a role in how frequently your filter needs replacing to prevent airflow restrictions, not just the recommendation on the label.
5. What Can You Do to Reduce Heating Costs?
With the constantly changing rates for energy, keeping heating costs down is on the minds of most homeowners. Our tune-up technicians are extremely knowledgeable about all the factors that may drive up your heating costs.
They may recommend changing your air filters more frequently, setting programs on your thermostat, using your ceiling fans, and a host of other things. With this one, be sure you’re ready to take notes because most of the ways to reduce heating costs are easy and things you can do for yourself.
6. What’s the Condition of Your Ductwork?
Anything related to your ductwork is not commonly included in a furnace tune-up, so this won’t be a full inspection. However, your ducts do connect to your furnace and therefore are within view as our technicians are working. Sometimes, technicians don’t have a problem taking a quick peek at whatever they can easily see.
From this, they may tell you whether you should schedule a full inspection, cleaning, or sealing. Keeping your ducts in good condition is critical to delivering heated air evenly and consistently around your home. If your ducts need cleaning, be sure to ask if this is a service the company provides or if there’s another company they’d recommend to perform the cleaning.
7. Does the Company Provide Emergency Services?
Most HVAC companies say they offer emergency services to their clients. However, what that looks like varies widely from one company to the next.
When you’re discussing emergency services, you’ll want to know how quickly you can expect a response. That response is both in terms of returning the initial call and how quickly a technician can be on-site to get your heat flowing again. Be sure to also ask how much the company charges for those emergency calls.
Some companies offer a maintenance membership rather than a stand-alone tune-up. Many times that membership offers either no or discounted additional after-hours fees for emergency repairs. You’ll want to ask whether what you have paid for with the tune-up will offer any emergency service discounts.
8. Does the Company Use Subcontractors?
HVAC companies get busier when temperatures get colder outside due to the extra strain on everyone’s systems. That means that more people need repair services, both regular and emergency. In order to meet that demand, some companies will use third-party contractors to help pick up the extra workload.
From your perspective, this is important to understand for a couple of reasons. First, it’s always a good idea to know who’s coming into your home. A subcontractor may not arrive in a company vehicle designated for the company you called. Additionally, you want to know whether there’s any change to workmanship quality or warranties if they send a subcontractor versus one of their team technicians.
9. What Kind of Warranties Does the Company Offer?
Finally, you’ll want to know what kind of warranties the company offers for the work they do. HVAC work has two different types of warranties that may be available. The first is usually provided by parts and equipment manufacturers, whether it’s for a full system or a single component.
However, the more substantial costs are the labor to complete the repair. You’ll want to know whether there’s any labor warranty on both repair work and new installations and what that looks like. With new installations, you may be able to purchase an additional warranty to cover labor should something fail. This is often much less than paying for a full-service call for a faulty component.
People around Vancouver have trusted Western Pacific Heating, Cooling & Airflow to keep their homes comfy through every season for nearly 20 years. Our team provides expert but friendly cooling and heating installation, maintenance and repair together with commercial and residential air balancing services. Call to schedule your furnace maintenance appointment with one of our technicians today.