Temperature is dropping, leaves are changing, and I’m ageing incredibly well. All signs that tell me it’s Fall in Regina and Winter is coming (I feel like I’ve heard that somewhere). For my line of work it also means everyone is shutting down their air conditioners and turning on furnaces, so I thought I’d do a quick Q & A of some of the more frequently asked questions I hear this time of year.

Is there anything I need to do for my air conditioner?

Yes, please cover your condenser outside. If you already own a cover, great, if not don’t worry. Head to Home Depot and buy a tarp and some longer bungee cords. Cover the condenser with the tarp and wrap the bungee cords around it to hold the tarp in place. With leaves and what not falling from the trees and swirling through the air, this is going to keep the coil clean. And while snow won’t necessarily damage the unit taking this step will help to prolong the life of your condenser’s electrical components.

What should I do before I turn on my furnace?

Pray to the furnace gods for a season of unencumbered warmth.

Should I have my furnace inspected?

Yes, yes, yes. Furnace inspections/maintenances are always a good idea. The furnace is one of, if not, the most important piece of equipment in your home, so it should go without saying that you should do whatever possible to protect it. Furnace maintenance allows a trained technician a chance to stop any problems BEFORE they happen. (I’m talking about you flame sensors!) Or allow the homeowner to be aware of problems that may be developing and could become an issue further down the road. Most HVAC companies in Regina offer some form of furnace inspection and they generally run fairly inexpensive. I recommend every homeowner should have their furnace maintained once a year.

A furnace in the middle of an install we did last month in Regina

My furnace stopped working, is there anything I can do myself?

I can provide two tips I’d love every homeowner to know.

  1. Check your filter. It’s so easy to forget to replace your furnace filter but eventually, it will collect enough contents that it will become fully clogged and prevent enough airflow to shut down the furnace. For your average filter, I recommend replacing it every three months. If you hold it up to the light and you can’t see any shine through, toss it out. If light passes through, feel free to slide it back in.

**Disclaimer: The previous sentence was rated PG-13**

2) Check for power. This happens more than you’d guess, especially in the summer for some reason, but often the switch to the furnace is accidentally flipped. Usually located at the top of the stairs leading to the basement, there is a switch that provides power to the furnace. Most of the time it gets flipped when guests just start randomly pressing switches trying to get the basement lights to shut off. Both of these are simple tips that can save you money and time shivering in the cold.

But beyond those two suggestions, there isn’t much I can recommend. Furnaces can be complex pieces of equipment that can become very dangerous if improperly repaired.

When should I consider getting a new furnace?

This isn’t a simple answer. There are many different factors that take place when deciding if your need to replace vs. repair. Age, cost, and urgency all play major factors in making this decision. If your furnace is less than ten years old I would generally lean to repairing the unit. There is still some life left in it and depending on the furnace, you may also have some warranty still.

Between ten to fourteen years is debatable. This is when you really need to consider how much you are investing into a furnace that may only have a few years left. If your quoted anything between $600-$1000 I would seriously consider getting a quote for a replacement furnace as well.

After fourteen years it’s safe to say replacement is your best bet. The furnace has been well used and will soon be old enough to get a driver’s license. Investing in a unit is investing money to buy a new paddle for a boat with a hole in it. At this point you’ve likely already needed 2 or 3 repairs, and will likely see them more frequently if you decide to just repair.

Final question, does Family Plumbing and Heating fix furnaces?

Yes, of course, we do! We have vast experience on all major brands as well as the ability to work on the fireplace, garage heaters, or basically anything you’re using to stay warm.