Is Serious Furnace Cleaning Necessary?
January 21, 2014 1:49 PM Subscribe
I have an old style furnace that has been cleaned (by vacuuming) on a mostly annual basis for about 20 years. Should I pay the big bucks to get it scraped out by a professional?
posted by Kevin Street to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Our furnace was installed in the early 90's (not sure when exactly, but it's about 20-25 years old) and is not a modern high efficiency type. Most years we got a furnace cleaning company to come and vacuum out the ducts, but this hasn't been done for at least 4 years. The furnace is definitely showing its age, and parts are beginning to fail. (The humidifier rusted off and is long gone, and two years ago I had to replace a burned out thermocouple.) But new furnaces are $100 000+, which is way out of my price range. So I want to keep this one running as long as possible.
A guy from a local furnace cleaning company (Sears) gave the furnace a free inspection today, and tried to sell me on his company's services. He said that vacuuming doesn't remove all the dust, so it builds up over the years. His company does an extremely thorough job because they actually cut into the main duct, get in there and scrape out the dust inside. (Heart surgery for the furnace, basically.) Then they'd have to weld the access plate back in place, in a much more complicated and expensive process than anything we've done before.
I'm not sure what to do. One one hand I'd rather not pay $500+ and have someone welding in the basement, but on the other hand I really don't want a furnace that's approaching the end of it's life to fail and stick me with the cost of buying a new one. That would be orders of magnitude more expensive.
Does this kind of furnace surgery sound like a good idea? Or can I just call the guys with the vacuum again?