Do You Need to Have Your Furnace Cleaned?

by Team eLocal
A side by side comparison of a clean HVAC furnace filter and a dirty filter

There's nothing worse than a sudden furnace breakdown in the depths of winter, so most homeowners want to do everything possible to avoid this unpleasant scenario. Maintaining your furnace correctly ensures your home remains cozy during cold weather, and it's also essential for keeping your household safe and healthy.

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Furnace cleaning is an integral part of any furnace maintenance schedule, and it's essential to budget for this service in your annual maintenance budget.

What Does Furnace Cleaning Involve?

Furnace cleaning involves cleaning the internal and external components of your furnace, typically using compressed air and an industrial vacuum machine. Some furnace maintenance companies charge an additional fee to clean specific components — such as the evaporator coil — because they require specialized cleaning techniques and equipment.

Often, cleaning companies offer bundled services covering multiple furnace maintenance tasks. For example, a cleaning service could also include an inspection, a carbon-monoxide leak test, a tune-up and a filter change.

How Much Does Furnace Cleaning Cost?

According to HomeGuide, a basic furnace cleaning service costs between $70 and $100, while a deep-clean could cost between $150 and $300.

Many homeowners book furnace maintenance or a tune-up at the same time as having their furnaces cleaned. A routine tune-up will cost you an additional $70 to $200.

Alternatively, you could consider purchasing a furnace service plan covering all your annual maintenance requirements. These plans usually include yearly cleaning, repairs and inspections and may provide access to short-notice booking slots. You should expect to pay between $150 and $500 per year for a furnace service package.

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Do You Need to Have Your Furnace Cleaned?

Having your furnace professionally cleaned is necessary to ensure maximum energy efficiency and maintain safe air quality inside your home. Furnace cleaning can also keep your unit in good working order, prolonging its lifespan and helping you avoid potentially costly repairs.

Unfortunately, neglecting to clean your furnace could actually be dangerous. A dirty or poorly maintained furnace increases the risk of a carbon-monoxide leak, which could cause serious health consequences or even death. You also risk a sudden breakdown, which could become an emergency if you're left without heating in the middle of winter.

You may wonder if you can clean your furnace yourself to reduce your home maintenance costs. Certain tasks — such as changing or cleaning the filters — are straightforward enough for even novice DIYers and can help keep your furnace in good condition. However, it usually takes a skilled professional to conduct a thorough furnace cleaning. Failing to service your furnace correctly could void the manufacturer's warranty.

How Often Should You Have Your Furnace Cleaned or Serviced?

As a rule of thumb, you should book a furnace service and cleaning every one to two years, or annually if your furnace is 10 years old or older. However, the furnace manufacturer may stipulate specific cleaning intervals to maintain your warranty coverage, regardless of your furnace's age.

Regardless of how recently you had it cleaned, you should book a furnace cleaning if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Increased dust inside your home
  • Inconsistent airflow or temperatures inside the house
  • Abnormal pilot light colors
  • Unpleasant or unusual odors coming from the furnace
  • Thermostat problems
  • Unusual or loud noises from your furnace
  • Sudden heating system shutdowns
  • Significant, unexplained increases in your heating bills

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