Does your furnace keep you awake at night because it’s too noisy or makes worrisome, asthmatic sounds?
If the answer is yes, it’s high time for your annual furnace service. Over the past few years, I have been trying out different companies (using Groupons and Wagjag “Service Special” deals) and haven't found there to be a big difference between them Invariably, the servicemen seem to find something in need of immediate repair, costing around $300 (the price also hardly changes).
To be honest, having my furnace serviced feels a bit like taking my car to the garage – I really have no clue how the thing works and the repairmen are fast to clue into my Achilles heel. I usually go along with their recommendation, mainly because I don’t want to wake up one morning with iceflowers blooming on my windows and no time to arrange for a repair.
Some companies offer a “care” plan and for an annual fee, they give a discount on repairs. This helps give peace of mind and is recommendable if the company is proven to do reliable, quality work in the past.
While still looking for the perfect partner in all things heating, I have learnt a couple of things:
#1: It is highly recommended to change the furnace filter every month during heating season. I have a washable one - it is a bit pricier but comes with a lifetime warranty. I hose it down with warm water in the tub (I put a towel underneath so I don’t scratch the tub) and then take it out to blow dry it. BTW: floor registers actually shouldn’t have filters in them as it puts extra strain on the furnace, so I removed mine.
#2: In regards to whether it’s better to keep the temperature constant or to turn it down during the night, opinions differ. Apparently, turning it down by one degree Fahrenheit over an eight-hour period saves 1% of heating costs (turning it down 10 degrees would then save 10%). However, reheating the house in the morning eats up the savings gained during the night, since the walls and everything else take a while to be reheated. I have tried it both ways and settled on turning the heat down to 63 degrees Fahrenheit during the night or 65 degrees when I am away for several hours. The house still heats up fairly quickly in the morning and my heating bill is quite a bit lower than if I leave it at a constant temperature.
Interior Designer Viviane Schmidt Mumm has spent the last 23 years in Vancouver, BC and the Lower Mainland.