Keep your furnace functioning in top form with regular maintenance from the pros. Routine maintenance can prevent unwanted problems and long, cold winter nights with no heat. A furnace is a type of forced-air heating system that distributes heat throughout your home or office through a series of ducts and vents. Fall is a great time to schedule an annual maintenance service visit to prepare your furnace for the hard work it will do all winter. But if you miss your fall maintenance appointment, any time of year is better than none. Maintenance keeps your machine clean and running efficiently, and prevents failure.
A furnace can be manually turned on via the thermostat or set to come on automatically when the air inside the home reaches a specific temperature. Most furnaces are powered by natural gas, but they may also be fueled by oil or propane gas. Regular maintenance as suggested by Energy.gov includes checking the vent connection pipe and chimney, checking the physical integrity of the heat exchanger, adjusting the controls to provide optimum air temperatures, checking the combustion chamber for cracks, testing for carbon monoxide (CO), adjusting the blower control and supply-air temperature, cleaning and oiling the blower, removing soot and corrosion from the furnace, checking the fuel input and flame characteristics, and sealing the connections between the furnace and the main ducts. Regular maintenance not only ensures optimal furnace performance, but also keeps your family safe. Several factors affect the cost of professional furnace maintenance.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) companies may charge a flat rate for their maintenance services. The flat rate will be calculated to account for the anticipated employee time, parts, transportation costs and business overhead. Prices may vary by company and by geographic location, reflecting the regional cost of living and labor rates. Different HVAC companies may include different services within their maintenance visits, so always ask beforehand what will be inspected and addressed. Often, HVAC companies have two tiers of maintenance pricing: one for a basic checkup and the other for a more exhaustive overview and service. Here are some examples of routine maintenance costs:
General furnace maintenance: $79 from Toasty’s Heating & Cooling in Farmington, Michigan.
Advanced maintenance of furnace: $138 from Toasty’s Heating & Cooling.
- Can be combined with an AC maintenance service for a total cost of $200, including AC chemicals.
38-point maintenance check: $89 from Pro-Air Inc. in Citrus Heights, California.
- 64-point maintenance check: $178 from Pro-Air Inc. in Citrus Heights, California.
Many HVAC companies offer maintenance plans to their new furnace customers. For a fee, the company can provide ongoing annual, semiannual or monthly maintenance service. These monthly plans are typically not available to someone who has not had a furnace installed by the company, which can vouch for the labor and new equipment involved in its own installation but not that of other HVAC companies. Maintenance plans can vary in price based on the extent of the services involved and whether new parts are included. Here is one example of tiered maintenance package pricing:
Basic plan: $105 annual fee from 1st Response Heating & Air Solutions in Lynnwood, Washington.
Preferred Plan: $145 annual fee from 1st Response Heating & Air Solutions for semi-annual maintenance visits.
Platinum Plan: $495 annual fee from 1st Response Heating & Air Solutions for monthly maintenance visits.
- The increased package pricing means increased access to service, parts, cleanings and discounts, while all three packages include an annual tuneup and filter replacements.
If your furnace has stopped working, you need a service call, not a maintenance visit. For a service call, an HVAC technician comes prepared with tools to assess potential problems and perform repairs where possible. Pricing is often based on an hourly rate, which can start at about $60 per hour and go up from there. Many companies also have a minimum fee to account for business overhead, transportation and employee time. After-hours and holiday service visits will cost more. Here are two examples of service call pricing: