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How often does a furnace need to be serviced ?

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  • Feb 19th, 2009 11:30 pm
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Jun 18, 2003
604 posts
36 upvotes
Port Moody

How often does a furnace need to be serviced ?

hmm, moved this old house a couple of years ago, the gas furnace is a 1988 lennox one, any idea how often do I need get it serviced ? thanks
17 replies
Deal Addict
Sep 19, 2005
2834 posts
38 upvotes
when we moved into current home 7yrs ago the high eff furnace was 3yrs old.
Have not touched it in 7yrs and works fine. Only issue had was igniter problem and fixed myself with emery cloth. I find the tune up checkups are a giant cash grab. Had a gas fireplace tune up once and watched closely what was done,, and it was a joke (never again)

and 20yrs of hm ownership never done one and never a problem requiring service
Member
Jan 10, 2007
252 posts
7 upvotes
What you don't agree with paying some guy a $100 to vaccuum your furnace? Its almost 2 minutes work, along with checking the on/off function, it seems like a cash grab to me, as long as you keep your filter cleaned/changed on a regular basis.
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Nov 12, 2006
2968 posts
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Certain Lennox furnaces around that time had heat exchanger issues. Mine is one of them.

The furnace should be inspected to make sure it is not cracked......it is part of the cleaning.

Consequence of a cracked heat exchanger....poisoning your family with CO. Even with a detector you can be at risk.

SM
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Nov 12, 2006
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fireguy9 wrote:
Feb 19th, 2009 11:49 am
when we moved into current home 7yrs ago the high eff furnace was 3yrs old.
Have not touched it in 7yrs and works fine. Only issue had was igniter problem and fixed myself with emery cloth. I find the tune up checkups are a giant cash grab. Had a gas fireplace tune up once and watched closely what was done,, and it was a joke (never again)
Fireplaces get condemned all the time too.
Sr. Member
May 6, 2007
674 posts
38 upvotes
stuntman wrote:
Feb 19th, 2009 12:22 pm
Certain Lennox furnaces around that time had heat exchanger issues. Mine is one of them.

The furnace should be inspected to make sure it is not cracked......it is part of the cleaning.

Consequence of a cracked heat exchanger....poisoning your family with CO. Even with a detector you can be at risk.

SM
With multiple CO detectors in the home how are you still at risk for CO poisoning (serious)?
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Sep 19, 2005
2834 posts
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stuntman wrote:
Feb 19th, 2009 12:22 pm
Certain Lennox furnaces around that time had heat exchanger issues. Mine is one of them.

The furnace should be inspected to make sure it is not cracked......it is part of the cleaning.

Consequence of a cracked heat exchanger....poisoning your family with CO. Even with a detector you can be at risk.

SM
Someone with any basic skill can check this too,,,, and if you maintain good detectors, and clean furnace you should be ok,,,,,, its a persoanal choice,,, but a cracked exchanger will fill your home with Co,,, and if you have a detector,,, its going to go off and stay in alarm,, and then you call fire dept who show up and take readings with there units and confirm a problem,,, then gas co shows up to fix for you.

As other poster says, if yo want to spend $100 for someone to vacuum and do few other little things anyone can do,, go ahead.
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Jan 4, 2007
1341 posts
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telman wrote:
Feb 19th, 2009 12:07 pm
What you don't agree with paying some guy a $100 to vaccuum your furnace? Its almost 2 minutes work, along with checking the on/off function, it seems like a cash grab to me, as long as you keep your filter cleaned/changed on a regular basis.
The normal cleaning takes about 20 minutes but they are doing thing like visual inspections which you are overlooking. There is a lot more to it than vacuuming. Approx every fourth cleaning take about 1.5 hours.
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Aug 9, 2004
21622 posts
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Mississauga
In over 10 yrs, never had it done, never wish I had.
Seems like a cash grab to me. Just stay on top of changing your filter.

Now that everyone is concerned with the efficiency of furnaces, which continuously improives with new technology, I suspect that the average lifespan of a furnace will plummet to about 10 yrs.....hardly makes it worthwhile to invest in its maintainence. Kind of like computers or electronics.
Thanks for the memories, RFD.
Good-bye.
Sr. Member
May 24, 2003
931 posts
42 upvotes
telman wrote:
Feb 19th, 2009 12:07 pm
What you don't agree with paying some guy a $100 to vaccuum your furnace? Its almost 2 minutes work, along with checking the on/off function, it seems like a cash grab to me, as long as you keep your filter cleaned/changed on a regular basis.
LOL This made me laugh. To do a proper furnace clean it takes me just under an hour to do, depending on how dirty it is. Like any work environment, you get people who do a **** job and then you get someone who will go above and beyond. Unfortunately, too many HVAC companies, especially in TO, are more concerned about the money than customer satisfaction.

And I find it ironic that the people who are the first to complain about how much repair costs are, are usually the people who have never had there furnace maintained properly.
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Nov 12, 2006
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trucanuck wrote:
Feb 19th, 2009 12:29 pm
With multiple CO detectors in the home how are you still at risk for CO poisoning (serious)?
CO detectors are a good defence but do not get tripped by low level CO. An inspection of the heat exchanger may reveal things that the CO detector would not.

Do I want to pay someone else to clean out my furnace? No, but for me to do a good job of it would take all day and I would have no idea what I am doing.

Anyways, the OP has furnace similar to the make and age of mine (I have a 85 Lennox). They cracked more than other furnaces.

SM

PS: maybe getting a new furnace is the way to go. Save on gas bills that way.
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Jun 12, 2007
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stuntman wrote:
Feb 19th, 2009 5:03 pm
CO detectors are a good defence but do not get tripped by low level CO. ...
+1, read the same thing. Consumer CO detectors don't work well at low CO levels. It was a deliberate decision by UL to make 30 ppm the sensor low level cutoff to prevent false alarms. The US EPA sets the CO safe limit at 9 PPM long term and 35 PPM for 1 hr:
http://www.aeromedix.com/aeromedix_arti ... index.html

Also, CO detectors need to be replaced every 5 years, but few people actually do.
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Sep 19, 2005
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l69norm wrote:
Feb 19th, 2009 6:07 pm
+1, read the same thing. Consumer CO detectors don't work well at low CO levels. It was a deliberate decision by UL to make 30 ppm the sensor low level cutoff to prevent false alarms. The US EPA sets the CO safe limit at 9 PPM long term and 35 PPM for 1 hr:
http://www.aeromedix.com/aeromedix_arti ... index.html

Also, CO detectors need to be replaced every 5 years, but few people actually do.
those numbers do not pertain

8hr exposure to Co is ok at 25-35ppm over a 8hr period and short term exposure of 100ppm for 15min acceptable.
A decent detector will go into alarm for these numbers and alert so you can get another reading done when you call the fire dept.
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Nov 12, 2006
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fireguy9 wrote:
Feb 19th, 2009 7:29 pm
those numbers do not pertain

8hr exposure to Co is ok at 25-35ppm over a 8hr period and short term exposure of 100ppm for 15min acceptable.
A decent detector will go into alarm for these numbers and alert so you can get another reading done when you call the fire dept.
I69Norm has a reference for his numbers. My research came to a similar conclusion.
Levels of under 30PPM are not detected. Your statement leaves a similar gap: under 25PPM is not detected. Levels under 25PPM can be harmful.

One important factor I forgot to mention. Fetal blood has a 15 times greater affinity for CO than regular blood. A major reason for not smoking during pregnancy is the smokers CO level of 10PPM.

SM
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Jun 12, 2007
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fireguy9 wrote:
Feb 19th, 2009 7:29 pm
those numbers do not pertain

8hr exposure to Co is ok at 25-35ppm over a 8hr period and short term exposure of 100ppm for 15min acceptable.
A decent detector will go into alarm for these numbers and alert so you can get another reading done when you call the fire dept.
Those are the US OSHA numbers - if you are working working in a factory. The quote below is from the article:
[INDENT]How much CO is too much? It depends a lot on whom you ask. OSHA (the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration) originally established a maximum safe limit for continuous exposure to CO in the workplace of 35 PPM, then later raised it to 50 PPM under pressure from industry. On the other hand, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues a health hazard alert when the outdoor concentration of CO rises above 9 PPM for an extended period, or above 35 PPM for one hour.[/INDENT]
Also:
[INDENT]In 1998, Underwriters Laboratory finally revised its UL 2034 specification, but did so in a fashion that made all UL-approved residential CO detectors far less attractive for aircraft use. UL published its revised spec in 1998, but implementation was delayed until January 1, 2000. For a CO detector to be UL-approved for residential use after that date, UL requires that it must not indicate CO levels less than 30 parts per million (PPM), nor alarm at levels below 100 PPM. This requirement was imposed by UL at the request of gas utilities and firefighters to minimize the number of unnecessary emergency calls from homeowners. I'm sure this has made the firefighters and gas company folks very happy. But it sure didn't please me[/INDENT]

Anyway, my point is that you can't blindly trust the accuracy of the digital display on the CO detector because they are deliberately made to be somewhat inaccurate to prevent false alarms.

You still need to have your furnace periodically checked, especially if you have a model known to be vulnerable to cracking/leaks.
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