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"How often should my furnace be inspected/cleaned?"
A furnace should be serviced at minimum every 1-2 years to keep it working efficiently and safely, and to prolong the life of the system.
If children are present in the home, annual service is recommended. If someone in the home has allergies or asthma, or large amounts of dust or pet hair are present, yearly service is also recommended.
In colder parts of the country, the best time to clean furnaces is before winter arrives.
Furnaces should be serviced by qualified professionals.
"Why should I do regular furnace maintenance?"
Furnaces attract dust, dirt, allergens, mold, and other contaminants that can make individuals more susceptible to colds and viral infections.
When furnaces aren't cleaned regularly, harmful matter builds up and get re-circulated back into the air that you breathe every day. As a result, poorly-cleaned furnaces can: trigger asthma and allergy attacks, cause health problems for people with other breathing disorders, and, aggravate the lungs of anyone sensitive to the environment.
Unfortunately, many with breathing problems don't know that poor indoor air quality can affect their health.
Beyond health issues, inadequate furnace cleaning often reduces the efficiency and performance of your furnace, and shortens its lifespan. Also, your furnace warranty might be voided without regular servicing.
Finally, any issue that causes your furnace to operate inefficiently will cost you money on energy bills.
"How often should I change my furnace filter?"
A furnace filter should be changed at least every 3 months. Factors that influence how often you need to change the filter include: type of furnace and filters you use, number of people in your home, levels of dust or pet hair in your home, and, presence of any smokers in your home.
If you recently finished a renovation, that's another good time to replace the filter.
The best way to know when it’s time to change the filter is to check it regularly and look for a thin layer of dust.
"What should I do if my furnace smells bad?"
If your furnace is releasing a bad or unusual smell, it could be a sign of an upcoming system failure, or safety hazard.
Common smells that indicate a need for maintenance include rotten eggs, burning/smoke, or musty odors.
Call an HVAC professional who will perform a thorough assessment of the system.
"What should I do if my furnace makes too much noise when it's off, or shutting down?"
It is not uncommon to hear a loud thumping or banging sound as a furnace is turning off. Common causes include metal duct systems expanding and contracting as air flow changes, clogged air filters affecting air flow, or too many closed vents in the house. It’s not usually a serious problem, but it's worth investigating.
Check your filters to make sure they are clean. Also, make sure that your vents and registers are open.
If the filter has recently been cleaned and/or changed, the vents are open, and the banging persists, contact an HVAC professional to investigate.