Is it Safe to Repair my own Furnace?

furnace repairMaybe it’s Autumn and you’re gearing up for a cold winter. Maybe the temperature has already dropped, and your furnace doesn’t seem to be kicking out enough heat. Either way, furnace maintenance and repair are a necessity in many parts of the USA, and people need to know what kind of costs they can expect. Unexpected repairs can be a strain on the budget, but neglecting your furnace can lead to more expensive repairs in the future—not to mention higher utility bills!

So how much will furnace maintenance and repairs cost, and is it possible to save money by tackling some repairs yourself?

First off, before considering the DIY approach, it’s important to understand that your furnace is complex appliance. You’re dealing with things like gas pressure, flames, and carbon monoxide. There are certain repairs which you should never attempt unless you are highly trained and have the proper equipment.

One of the repairs you should never attempt yourself is replacing an inducer fan motor. This involves the use of specific sealants that prevent carbon monoxide from leaking out of the furnace into your home.

Replacing a faulty gas valve is another repair you should have done professionally. It seems simple enough, but there’s more to it than screwing the new valve into place. This repair requires meticulous calibration of gas pressure using special tools. Without this calibration, your furnace can start to break down in a hurry, and your energy costs can spiral.

So what about repairs that are safe to do on your own? Changing your furnace’s air filter is a relatively simple task that can be done between professional maintenance visits. It works wonders for your air quality and heating efficiency—but you still want to be confident that you’re doing it right.

It’s also possible to “reset” your furnace by flipping the switch of the “off” position and then flipping the relevant power breaker on and off before turning the furnace back on. Many HVAC specialists show up to home and businesses only to find that a circuit breaker has tripped. Even with this task, however, it’s important to be confident and know exactly what you’re doing.

Cleaning the vents through which your furnace pumps warm air is another task that can improve your heating efficiency and air quality. Usually, all this requires is a screwdriver, a damp cloth and a vacuum hose.

Beyond these simple tasks, the objective truth is that furnace repairs and maintenance are better left to the professionals. It’s faster, safer, and even cheaper in many cases. Without knowing the ins and outs of your furnace, it’s very difficult to diagnose problems correctly, let alone address them. It’s also worth noting that many furnaces come with a warranty, either from the manufacturer or the company who installed the furnace. If this is the case, attempting DIY repairs can actually void the warranty and lead to higher out-of-pocket costs in the long term.

One of the best ways to learn about your furnace, and which tasks are safe to perform on your own, is to watch an HVAC specialist during a maintenance check. Qualified technicians should be happy to discuss repairs and maintenance, and answer any questions you may have. Usually, you’ll only need one or two maintenance checks each year to keep your furnace in top shape and diagnose any problems.

We hope this article has given you some useful information about furnace maintenance. If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you in the comment box below.