How to replace your furnace

Proper maintenance saves money

If you don’t maintain your furnace, expect unnecessarily high heating bills from inefficiency and repair bills for preventable equipment failure. You’ll also shorten the furnace’s life.

Most people don’t have the expertise to perform the necessary maintenance functions themselves, but many HVAC contractors offer maintenance plans.

"A furnace tune-up includes a thorough clean of the system, checking the electrical components and evaluating burners and heat exchangers," says Brian Schutt, owner of Homesense Heating and Cooling in Indianapolis. "This should be done by a licensed service technician, who should explain what is being done and offer recommendations for preventative repairs if they find anything operating outside of specifications."

A thorough inspection will take 45 minutes to an hour. Schutt says a maintenance plan that includes two visits per year, ideally one in the spring and one in the fall, and will cost about $150 to $200 per year.

You’ll also want to change the filter when it gets dirty and make sure the warm-air supply and return registers are clean and not blocked by furniture or curtains.