Home & Garden

Does anyone actually do a yearly gas furnace checkup?

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 15th, 2021 12:42 pm
Tags:
[OP]
Deal Addict
Dec 23, 2008
1355 posts
78 upvotes
Montreal

Does anyone actually do a yearly gas furnace checkup?

In Canada, it seems cost prohibitive to do it frankly and this goes for central AC as well. I swap my filter every 3 months and that's it. Why should I pay 250 bucks for someone to just look and say yeah it looks fine.

I notice that Ontario seems to have more competition and offers in general compared to Quebec where your hard pressed to find anyone trades wise.

Thoughts?
39 replies
Sr. Member
User avatar
Apr 21, 2004
834 posts
62 upvotes
Pickering
We pay about $670ish for 2 furnaces, 2 A/C units, 2 tankless hot water units, 2 ERV's, 2 fireplaces as we get everything done at once.

It does seem simple enough to do as it is mostly just opening things, vacuuming, putting things back together, flushing the tankless units, vaccuum cleaning the pipes leading out of the house.

It takes him and an apprentice roughly about 4 hours to service everything. I can probably do it myself but I think I'd rather keep that relationship going in case something breaks down the road, at least he is more inclined to help out as he is the one always inspecting it. I also used him to run my pool gas line for the pool heater.
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 10, 2005
36071 posts
10162 upvotes
Ottawa
I do.
I do not pay $250 for a check up though. I think the price is variable and depends on what extras you get. I want my furnace inspected and cleaned and I want them to make sure the electronics and thermostat are all working properly. It is not just a filter replacement.
I replace my furnace filter more frequently because I run the fan constantly but, that does not mean the furnace stays clean and is operating efficiently.
The Government cannot give to anybody anything that the Government does not first take from somebody else.
Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2005
4264 posts
1502 upvotes
WFH
250 sounds more like an annual maintenance plan that covers everything. I recently paid $115 and that included changing a couple of pressure switches that were covered by the manufacturers parts warranty. This is the first time I've had it serviced since it was installed in 2013. Oh, but I'm in ON.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
3166 posts
2136 upvotes
Toronto
Nope. Knock on wood. Had a mid efficiency Lennox installed 16 years ago and never paid a cent for maintenance on it since. When it was installed they recharged the now-19 year old A/C as they had to do something with the coil. It's been fine ever since as well.

I pay $20 a month to rent my water heater with no real regrets. It was changed 3 years ago at no cost to me of course when I called them up and said it's too old for insurance.

I change my filter every month ($15 mid-range filters).

So I guess I've avoided about $2,000 in annual service fees on the furnace over 16 years. I look at it once in a while and it seems clean to me. Maybe I'll check out a YouTube video about whatever else I might actually do to 'maintain' it, but I think being a mid-efficiency unit helps keep things simple.
Deal Addict
Mar 3, 2018
1857 posts
1839 upvotes
GTA
Never done it just changed filters and vacuumed myself every couple of years . First Carrier furnace lasted 25 years although I was second owner. Current Carrier now over 16 years old. I hear the unethical service providers may tag your furnace for replacement unnecessarily to get a sale when they inspect.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 13, 2010
3097 posts
3052 upvotes
GTA
torontotim wrote: Nope. Knock on wood. Had a mid efficiency Lennox installed 16 years ago and never paid a cent for maintenance on it since. When it was installed they recharged the now-19 year old A/C as they had to do something with the coil. It's been fine ever since as well.

I pay $20 a month to rent my water heater with no real regrets. It was changed 3 years ago at no cost to me of course when I called them up and said it's too old for insurance.

I change my filter every month ($15 mid-range filters).

So I guess I've avoided about $2,000 in annual service fees on the furnace over 16 years. I look at it once in a while and it seems clean to me. Maybe I'll check out a YouTube video about whatever else I might actually do to 'maintain' it, but I think being a mid-efficiency unit helps keep things simple.
Depending on how long you've rented your water heater you haven't saved any money. Over 16 years you saved about $2000 on furnace fees but wasted $3140 on water heater rental fees versus purchasing. $4340 rental for 16 years - $1200 purchased. You've paid enough in rental fees to have replaced your HWT three times.
Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2005
4264 posts
1502 upvotes
WFH
DaveTheDude wrote: ...I hear the unethical service providers may tag your furnace for replacement unnecessarily to get a sale when they inspect.
Yes, even if you don't want annual servicing it's a good idea to try and build some sort of a relationship with a HVAC company you can trust. Chances are when you need them, you really need them!
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
3166 posts
2136 upvotes
Toronto
tew wrote: Depending on how long you've rented your water heater you haven't saved any money. Over 16 years you saved about $2000 on furnace fees but wasted $3140 on water heater rental fees versus purchasing. $4340 rental for 16 years - $1200 purchased. You've paid enough in rental fees to have replaced your HWT three times.
It's been replaced twice in 20 years. Not sure how old the original was when I bought the place in 1999. It was replaced a few years later likely around 2004, and then again in 2018.

I've been paying rent on the heater since 1999 when I bought the house.

Not sure about the $1200 purchased - you think I can have a mid-efficiency water heater supplied and installed for $1200? Lets say I can.

20 years rent = $4,800 + tax as you seem to have done on the $20 monthly rental so $5,424
2 new water heaters = $2,400 + tax or $2,712, but somehow I don't think I'd be getting water heaters installed for $1,200+tax.

So I've spent $2,712 extra over 20 years to rent vs. own my water heater.

Its definitely something I've thought about, but I'm not losing sleep over the extra $135 a year I've paid for my water heater.

I'm also not out there celebrating the $125 a year I've not spent on furnace maintenance.

I'm just saying I haven't paid anything for furnace maintenance in 16 years and don't appear to be any worse off for it.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 13, 2010
3097 posts
3052 upvotes
GTA
Mike2000z28 wrote: In Canada, it seems cost prohibitive to do it frankly and this goes for central AC as well. I swap my filter every 3 months and that's it. Why should I pay 250 bucks for someone to just look and say yeah it looks fine.

I notice that Ontario seems to have more competition and offers in general compared to Quebec where your hard pressed to find anyone trades wise.

Thoughts?
It's at least half the cost you mentioned. I would think once every 3 or 4 years would be sufficient. A gas furnace runs pretty clean so I think every year would be unnecessary. I think it's a good a idea to have a (trusted) pro clean and inspect your furnace every few years. Maybe they will catch a minor issue before it becomes a major issue that becomes an expensive repair/replacement.
Sr. Member
Jul 16, 2019
642 posts
323 upvotes
I used to have the same licensed gas tech to clean and check all my appliances once a year when everything was old. Approx $100. Heater, AC, furnace, fireplace. The fireplace cleaning I do myself - youtube videos online - i just vacuum, dust, clean the glass. I change the furnace filter every 2 months.
I replaced everything except the fireplace in 2019 so will likely get everything cleaned this year as everything is new and will not need anything immediately except perhaps the humidifier.
Deal Addict
Mar 3, 2018
1857 posts
1839 upvotes
GTA
dirtmover wrote: Yes, even if you don't want annual servicing it's a good idea to try and build some sort of a relationship with a HVAC company you can trust. Chances are when you need them, you really need them!
Everyone has their personal comfort level. I don't see the need or want to have an ongoing relationship with a HVAC company that I have to pay to keep. Seems like a waste of money over 20 years. If I need a new furnace I can get three quotes and a new furnace within a two days like I had to so for my mother-in-law last month.
Sr. Member
Oct 17, 2002
948 posts
151 upvotes
Oakville
Never have, and knock on wood that I dont need it. I change the air filter every 6 months (ours uses the 5" wide filter) and the humidifier filter annually. I also vacuum the inside of the filter area as well.

One thing I've never done but will later this spring/summer is flush the water tank.
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1806 posts
1330 upvotes
GTA West
torontotim wrote: It's been replaced twice in 20 years. Not sure how old the original was when I bought the place in 1999. It was replaced a few years later likely around 2004, and then again in 2018.

I've been paying rent on the heater since 1999 when I bought the house.

Not sure about the $1200 purchased - you think I can have a mid-efficiency water heater supplied and installed for $1200? Lets say I can.

20 years rent = $4,800 + tax as you seem to have done on the $20 monthly rental so $5,424
2 new water heaters = $2,400 + tax or $2,712, but somehow I don't think I'd be getting water heaters installed for $1,200+tax.

So I've spent $2,712 extra over 20 years to rent vs. own my water heater.

Its definitely something I've thought about, but I'm not losing sleep over the extra $135 a year I've paid for my water heater.

I'm also not out there celebrating the $125 a year I've not spent on furnace maintenance.

I'm just saying I haven't paid anything for furnace maintenance in 16 years and don't appear to be any worse off for it.
I rent mine as well, and it is also almost $20/month now too. When I needed to replace it 4 years ago I was quoted $1500 to get an owned unit installed. I put that $1500 in my TFSA where I hold dividend stocks like banks that have yielded 5% plus. Over 20 years, that is $1,500 and I will have a valuable stock asset at the end that has risen in value, not a corroded water heater.

And of course, to get the benefit 20 years of life from your owned water heater you have to stay in your house 20 years. If you move before that, you give it to the next owner.

I am sure there are people out there who can get a guy on Kijiji to install a water heater for $800. Different strokes for different folks.

And the people who rent from scam outfits like National Water Heaters are making a mistake at those prices too.
Newbie
Mar 6, 2013
81 posts
22 upvotes
Hamilton
Dealmaker1945 wrote: I rent mine as well, and it is also almost $20/month now too. When I needed to replace it 4 years ago I was quoted $1500 to get an owned unit installed. I put that $1500 in my TFSA where I hold dividend stocks like banks that have yielded 5% plus. Over 20 years, that is $1,500 and I will have a valuable stock asset at the end that has risen in value, not a corroded water heater.

And of course, to get the benefit 20 years of life from your owned water heater you have to stay in your house 20 years. If you move before that, you give it to the next owner.

I am sure there are people out there who can get a guy on Kijiji to install a water heater for $800. Different strokes for different folks.

And the people who rent from scam outfits like National Water Heaters are making a mistake at those prices too.
While that yield got you with (initial 1500, 300 gain) is 1800 remaining after 4 years, you paid $960 for renting. So really you have 800 left.

Long term this doesn't make sense.

You re better of buying. After it's paid off deposit the would be rent money into investing, until time comes to buy a new water heater again.
Deal Addict
Apr 18, 2013
3456 posts
1583 upvotes
Canada
torontotim wrote: Nope. Knock on wood. Had a mid efficiency Lennox installed 16 years ago and never paid a cent for maintenance on it since. When it was installed they recharged the now-19 year old A/C as they had to do something with the coil. It's been fine ever since as well.

I pay $20 a month to rent my water heater with no real regrets. It was changed 3 years ago at no cost to me of course when I called them up and said it's too old for insurance.

I change my filter every month ($15 mid-range filters).

So I guess I've avoided about $2,000 in annual service fees on the furnace over 16 years. I look at it once in a while and it seems clean to me. Maybe I'll check out a YouTube video about whatever else I might actually do to 'maintain' it, but I think being a mid-efficiency unit helps keep things simple.
After 3-4 years you could have owned that water heater. You're not over good at math are you?
Member
Oct 19, 2020
322 posts
189 upvotes
I've said this in other thread b4:

Something to note is that just because your furnace is still heating the house, does mean it's doing so safely and within manufacturer's specs. Heat exchangers can crack, burners can get dirty or even rusty, gas pressure can drift off messing up the fuel to air mix, and more. One problem can lead to a bigger problem, like a failing capacitor can kill a blower motor and the excess current draw once it fails to turn over can take out the circuit board's blower relay.

So it's important to get aging furnaces checked and tuned - it doesn't have to be every year.

The typical co alarm sold at retail stores does not warn when there are chronic low levels of co, so there can still be exposure even if it displays zero and doesn't beep. Do not rely on your co alarm to determine if any fuel burning appliance is running safely!
The alarm is for catastrophic failures like vents being disconnected and plugged chimneys; anyone who wants better protection can spend more on a low level co monitor but even having that is not a substitute for getting equipment checked.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
4166 posts
2950 upvotes
Nope. Based on research I conducted, I personally don't believe it's necessary and just a money grab from HVAC companies. I'm also weary of loopholes the company has when you do have a failed unit or part under warranty - if they're actually cover it. I rather take the chance of not paying yearly fees and doing my own due diligence (e.g. changing the filter regularly and assuming you don't have and don't have a particularly dirty/dusty home) and in the off chance if I need to get service before it needs replacing, I can use the money that I saved up from not paying the maintenance fees.

These maintenance plans are just like insurance or water heater rentals - you're paying into it in the off chance you need it but unlike auto insurance, it's not mandatory and if you don't ever have a problem, you have nothing to show for it - money lost/wasted.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Dec 12, 2009
19908 posts
8016 upvotes
Toronto
DIY for me. Prior to each heating season, I check/clean the flame sensor, remove the plumbing to the trap and run some clean water through it to make sure there is no clogging, light vacuum, general inspection. I also check the condensate drain line prior to cooling season.
̶K̶o̶o̶d̶o̶ ̶$̶4̶0̶/̶6̶G̶B̶
Public Mobile 2016 fall promo, $23/1GB, $38/5GB
Fido $0.00/4GB+tablet
Tangerine Bank, Simplii

Top