Furnace maintenance: Are you ready for Old Man Winter?
Help your home furnace run smoothly and efficiently.
Keeping you warm: That is the essential function of your furnace. But how do you judge when your furnace is nearing the end of its life or when it just needs a little TLC? And what steps can you take to make sure your furnace can do its job? Use these essential maintenance tips to find out.
Furnace maintenance checklist
- Filter: Check it monthly and replace when suggested (or earlier, if needed). A clogged, dirty filter makes it harder for a furnace to do its job.
- Ducts and vents: Your ducts should be securely fastened together, and vents should be clear of debris or dust. Vacuum and dust your home regularly to keep dirt out of air ducts. If your furnace uses a combustion air duct to pull in air from the outside, make sure nothing blocks the outdoor vent such as shrubs or debris.
- Service: Schedule service calls as suggested in your owner's manual or annually. The serviceperson can help you keep tabs on any issues with the condition or function of your furnace.
Average costs for a new furnace
According to HVAC.com, the average cost of a new furnace could range from $1,795 to $6,290.
- Gas furnace: around $3,000 + installation
- Electric furnace: around $2,000 + installation
Professional installation costs normally range around $2,500 to $6,000. Contact an HVAC professional for detailed pricing in your area.
Average life span of a furnace
According to Bob Vila, the average lifespan is between 20 to 30 years.
Does efficiency matter?
- Absolutely — a more-energy-efficient furnace equates to savings on your monthly utility bills. An Energy Star-certified gas furnace, for example, is about 15% more efficient than a non-Energy Star version.
- A programmable thermostat can help manage your furnace and energy consumption.
- Not sure whether your furnace is efficient? Ask your service professional what your annual fuel utilization efficiency rating is. Below 80% may indicate it's time for a new model.
Signs you may need a new furnace
- Your current furnace keeps breaking, leading to frequent disruptions and service calls.
- You notice big jumps in energy consumption, even when there's no associated jump in temperature extremes.
- The heat coming out of your furnace is strange — one room is cold, another is hot, for example.
- Your service professional indicates there are cracks or other problems.
Is a furnace covered under homeowners insurance?
A furnace isn't covered for normal wear and tear or replacement. This is considered to be part of your typical home maintenance. However, you can contact your local State Farm® agent for information on Home Systems Protection. This may offer insurance protection for certain perils typically not covered by a homeowners policy.
If you need a new furnace
- Get three bids to compare.
- Make sure that costs include removal and disposal of the old model.