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Frequently Asked Questions About Furnaces

Many common questions regarding your furnace can be quickly answered on this page. Note that this page is updated periodically, when relevant.

Do I have to perform annual maintenance on my furnace/hot water tank/air conditioner?

The short answer is no, you don’t have to. However, like properly servicing your car, a regularly serviced and maintained furnace is far less likely to catastrophically fail and much more likely to operate efficiently. Always refer to manufacturer specifications for service intervals to ensure a long, safe operating life.

What is the best type of furnace?

There is no easy answer to this question. In Alberta the most common options are natural gas and electric, and currently it is less expensive to run a natural gas furnace. However, in reality, the best type of furnace is the one that’s right for your home. This means that your furnace produces the right amount of BTU’s required to properly heat your home, and that it is capable of sending the warm air throughout the home. It ishighly recommended that you consult with an expert when deciding on a furnace for you home to ensure that you don’t over/under buy based on your needs.

What is the best time to have a new furnace installed?

It is recommended that you have a new furnace installed in the warmer months. Ideally the furnace is addressed when a replacement is recommended by an experienced technician, regardless of the time of year.

How many BTU’s are required to properly heat my home?

A rough calculation would be to divide the square footage of your home by 0.28. This will give you a rough approximation. A more accurate calculation can be made by determining the amount of heat loss your home experiences and then choosing a furnace to compensate for said loss.

How can I reduce my utility bills?

An easy first step here is to minimize your use of lights, appliances, etc. A programmable thermostat will enable you to have the furnace set to a lower temperature at night and when you are not home, reducing energy used to maintain temperature. A high efficiency furnace will also save money compared to a standard or mid-efficiency furnace. Modern high efficiency furnaces are up to 97% efficient (compared to 55% efficient for an older standard furnace).

When should I replace my furnace?

The average standard-efficiency furnace lasts for between 15 – 18 years (assuming proper maintenance). A high-efficiency furnace lasts an average of 12 – 14 years. If your home is more than 10 years old you should begin to diligently monitor your furnace and its operation.

What are signs that my furnace may soon require replacement?

While each furnace is unique and may present signs of failure in their own way, common symptoms to watch for include:

  • Delayed ignition
  • Significant amounts of corrosion
  • Little/no heat produced
  • Odd smells (sulfur, rotten eggs, etc.)
  • Consistent pilot light failures

How often should I change my furnace filter?

Most furnace filters will last anywhere from 3 months to 1 year. It is recommended that you inspect your furnace filter monthly and replace when required.

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