As people start turning up the heat this winter, SaskEnergy is reminding homeowners to replace their furnace filters.
The natural gas provider is in the middle of giving free furnace inspections to 270 low-income homeowners, and used its Tune-Up Assistance Program as a chance to send a message about proper maintenance and cleaning.
“We often tell people that your furnace isn’t like your car. It doesn’t have a little oil light that says, ‘maintain me,’” said Shannon Doka, a community involvement leader for SaskEnergy.
Dirty furnace filters force the furnace to work harder and that results in higher energy bills, poor air quality and possibly high repair costs down the road.
Luke East from Reliance Mackenzie Plumbing and Heating spoke with 980 CJME while doing an inspection as part of the program in Regina.
In addition to changing the filter, East conducted several tests.
The most important one, he said, was checking that the furnace’s heat exchanger was in good condition.
“A breach or crack in the heat exchanger, you can risk getting a little bit of carbon monoxide up into the supply air, which is feeding the house with warm air,” East said.
“Especially if the furnace is older, they have more chance of developing cracks or breaches.”
East also used a combustible gas detector to check for any leaks in the line.
He also measured the temperature of the furnace’s return and supply air. The difference between the two should be within a certain range to prevent overheating, he said.
Finally, East checked the gas pressure.
“The main goal there is to ensure we’re running within the parameters that the furnace is designed to. If you’re over or under, you’re not getting the efficiency that it can deliver fully,” he said.
East said a regular inspection usually costs about $140.