Furnace Inspection Near Me: How to Hire and Prepare for a Furnace Inspection
Don’t wait for cold temperatures to find out your furnace needs attention. Search for “furnace inspection near me” to find a qualified technician who can make sure your furnace works safely and efficiently.
Hiring the Best HVAC Technician Near Me
Furnaces are typically out of sight and out of mind—right up until cold weather hits. At that point, homeowners hope their furnace is in good working order to help keep the house warm as temperatures drop. While it’s easy to adjust a thermostat, change batteries, and even change filters, there’s a lot more that goes into the process of making sure your furnace is safe and ready to use.
Licensed HVAC professionals are well qualified to identify potential problems with your furnace that can cause it to malfunction just when you need it most. As an added bonus, regular furnace maintenance can help to reduce energy costs by making sure the furnace is running at peak performance. Part of good home maintenance is preparing your mechanical equipment for upcoming seasonal changes, so if you’re ready to get started, keep reading to learn how and why to schedule a furnace inspection after searching for “furnace inspection near me.”
Cost of a Furnace Inspection
It’s recommended to have an annual inspection done on your furnace to help prevent more costly expenses down the road for emergency repairs. On average, you can expect to pay between $80 and $100 for a furnace inspection. The cost depends on your location, the time of year, the size of your system, and the severity of the problems being inspected. Some companies may also charge an additional trip fee, so be sure to ask about all associated fees when calling for quotes. You’ll also want to ask about the services included, as some companies may not include duct cleaning in a furnace inspection.
What’s Included in a Furnace Inspection?
You might be surprised to find just how much HVAC technicians can get done during a furnace inspection. They inspect for safety issues as well as performance problems that can be adjusted to help extend the life of the furnace by 20 to 40 percent and make it more energy efficient.
Common problems that HVAC technicians can address during a furnace inspection include:
- Clogged blowers that reduce efficiency
- Dirty filters that strain the airflow system
- Cracks in the heat exchanger or pipes that can leak gas into the house
- Cracks or leaks in the ductwork that affect efficiency
- Burners that aren’t operating properly or at all
- Unlubricated parts that need attention
- Yellow or orange pilot lights that should be blue
- A thermostat that’s not properly communicating with the furnace
- Banging sounds coming from the furnace
- Electrical wiring that’s exposed or worn
- Clogged condensation drains
- Incorrect measurements of combustion gas output
- Furnace runs but doesn’t blow warm air
- Motor that has a low amp draw
- Energy bills have risen lately
It’s important to note that some problems with a furnace can’t be solved during an inspection. The technician may need to order parts or complete a complicated repair with the help of other technicians. Furnaces have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, so if your furnace needs repairs often or it’s reaching the end of its lifespan, it may need to be replaced instead.
Do I Need a Furnace Inspection?
There’s a misconception that hiring someone to do a furnace inspection on an annual basis is merely a money-making scheme. In reality, it’s a critical component to keeping your furnace operating efficiently and safely for you and everyone living in your house. Regular furnace inspections are the best way to prevent major malfunctions that can cost a small fortune to repair at the most inconvenient times. And in some cases, the manufacturer’s warranty may require it in order to receive coverage for any potential problems that can occur.
When a furnace breaks down, it’s usually at a time when you need it most. Keeping your family warm with below-freezing temperatures can be a challenge without any working heat source in the house. It could be that you only need to replace the batteries in the thermostat or relight the pilot light, but beyond that, an HVAC technician is needed to get it working safely again. This means you’ll need to ask for a more costly furnace repair rather than an inspection.
Attempting to repair your own furnace without the proper qualifications can void your warranty and potentially cause harm to you or your family. Here are some of the top emergency problems that need immediate professional assistance.
- Smelling gas or the scent of rotten eggs around your furnace. This is a dangerous situation where you’ll need to get your family out of the house until the furnace can be inspected by the fire department and repaired by a qualified professional.
- Booming and banging. Your furnace likely has clogged burners or poor gas pressure, which is causing mini gas explosions as it tries to ignite.
- Constant clicking sounds. It’s likely that your furnace is struggling to ignite, which means the flame sensor may be damaged.
If the furnace is still running, it’s possible that you only need to have an inspection or a tune-up done to get it working optimally again. While many furnace problems can cause it to work inefficiently or stop operating properly, some problems are less of an emergency than others that risk your health. This is helpful—although inconvenient and chilly—since it can often take several days for a repair technician to come solve the problem if they’re extremely busy.
Common problems that are non-emergencies include:
- Your house doesn’t get warmer when you raise your thermostat
- Your energy bill is higher
- There’s a lot of dust around the furnace and in the ductwork
- You haven’t had an inspection in several years
- The furnace rapidly cycles on and off
- You hear squeaking or squealing when it runs
- You hear metal-on-metal sounds when it runs
Other Considerations and Benefits
Knowing your furnace will work reliably when you need it is the best way to have peace of mind about one of your most relied-upon mechanical systems. Here are several other top reasons why you should schedule a furnace maintenance service soon.
- It identifies any parts that are wearing out before they break
- Helps prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
- Keeps the system running smoothly and efficiently
- Helps reduce energy costs
- May keep your warranty valid
- Usually prevents a catastrophic breakdown in the coldest time of the year
- Allows for discount mechanical parts to be ordered more easily before winter
- Keeps your home value up and may need to happen for a home inspection
- Prolongs the life of your furnace
- Allows cleaner air to circulate in the house
DIY vs. Hiring an HVAC Technician
A homeowner’s responsibility in terms of helping their furnace run well includes making sure the filters are changed every 3 months, checking the carbon monoxide detectors every 30 days, and keeping the furnace room free of dust and clutter. Homeowners can also proactively look for and seal any leaks in the house and attic to help make their house more efficient and insulated. Keeping the house clean and free of dust is also essential for preventing excess stress on the HVAC system. And following the instruction steps on the furnace, an enthusiastic DIYer could even relight the pilot light if it’s gone out.
However, due to the technical nature of furnaces and how they operate, any real maintenance or adequate inspections need to be completed by someone who has been properly trained and certified to do so. Anytime you’re dealing with gas or complicated motors, it’s best to leave it to a pro. With several years on the job, they’ll know exactly what to look for to spot a hairline crack in a pipe or a worn-down part that’s causing the rattling sound. You can rest easy knowing they’ll help you get your system running smoothly each fall. Just do a quick search for “furnace tune-up specials near me” to find a great deal from a local company.
How to Find a Reputable HVAC Technician Near Me
First and foremost, you need to make sure the company only employs licensed and certified HVAC technicians for your state. This ensures they can legally inspect, repair, and handle the materials (like Freon) used in HVAC systems. It’s also best to get quotes from several companies to determine the best price, qualifications, and scheduling that works for you. Beyond these recommendations, here are a few other ways to help make sure you hire the right company after you search for “furnace inspection near me.”
- Ask neighbors and family for recommendations.
- Check with local real estate agents.
- Review the company’s online reputation and Better Business Bureau profile.
- Make sure the employees they send to your house have at least a few years of experience.
- Compare quotes and all the included services and fees.
- Ask if they keep common parts for your brand in stock (resist looking for discounted heating parts that may not be certified).
- Make sure they have an actual office that demonstrates their commitment to staying in business and being available to customers.
- Ask plenty of questions to see if they answer clearly or try to confuse you with complicated jargon.
- Be wary of free service calls that often bury hidden fees upon arrival.
- Resist going with the cheapest non-sale price, as they may not be as qualified.
Questions to Ask About a Furnace Inspection Near Me
As a homeowner, you want to know your money is well spent on a furnace inspection. Knowing what to ask about a furnace inspection can help you feel more comfortable about the process. Always make sure to ask if the company is licensed, bonded, and insured so you know they’re a company that’s operating legally and wisely.
- What do you include in a standard furnace inspection?
- What is the best time of year to have my furnace inspected?
- Are you qualified to work on my furnace brand?
- Do you charge a flat-rate or hourly rate for furnace inspections?
- Do you charge a trip fee?
- How long will the inspection take?
- Will you send a licensed technician with several years of experience?
- What’s the name of the employee you’re sending to my house?
- Is there anything I need to do to prepare for the inspection?
- Will you complete any needed repairs during the inspection?
- Do I need to have a furnace inspection before I sell my house?
- Do you offer 24-hour service and other services like plumbing and electrical?
- What payment methods do you accept?
- Do you offer membership service plans? If so, what’s included?
- Are there any discounts available?
- Do you offer a labor warranty on parts you might need to replace?
A basic furnace inspection should be a straightforward process, but it helps to have as much information as possible. Here are the answers to several frequently asked questions.
Q. How much does it cost to have my furnace checked?
The cost to inspect a furnace can vary based on your location and the size of the unit, but an average range is between $80 and $100.
Q. How often should I schedule the inspection of my furnace?
You should have your furnace inspected once a year. It’s best to schedule it in the fall, but even better in the late summer before furnace companies are busy.
Q. How long does it take to inspect a furnace?
Furnace inspections or tune-ups really don’t take too long, but they should take long enough. A reputable company should have it done in 1 to 2 hours. If an inspection is completed in 30 minutes, it’s likely that several steps were skipped.
Q. Can my furnace explode?
The nature of furnaces using gas and a flame to force air into a house has a way of making people nervous about the potential combustibility of the unit. Fortunately, since these units are so commonly used in homes, they’ve been built to meet many safety standards to prevent such an event from happening. While it is possible for a furnace to catch fire or even explode, it’s an extremely rare event. The risk of leaking carbon monoxide is higher than an exploding furnace. Both of these situations can be prevented with regular inspections and maintenance that detect any potential safety hazards and correct them.
Q. Why does my furnace make a loud boom?
Furnaces should be running without sudden, loud sounds. If you hear booms happening, the furnace probably has a delayed ignition problem. Gas is building up in the combustion chamber without being ignited quickly. When it’s finally ignited, there’s more gas being lit which causes a loud boom. This is definitely not a problem to ignore and will require a furnace repair. This loud boom is not to be confused with some smaller bangs that can happen when the ductwork expands or contracts due to fluctuating temperatures.
Q. How long should a furnace last?
Most furnaces last between 10 and 20 years. Frequent inspections and maintenance have proven effective at lengthening the lifespan of a furnace by up to 40 percent.
Sources: Angi, John C. Flood