Relaxing in the back yard and throwing burgers on the grill hardly seems the time to think about heating your home. But when the leaves begin to fall and cool winds begin to blow, you may be surprised to find that trusty old furnace is a fair-weather friend. Here’s why now is the time to have your furnace inspected.

Experts say a properly maintained furnace can operate effectively on average 16 to 20 years. You should ask a licensed HVAC professional to do a maintenance inspection and cleaning annually. Most homeowners wait until mid to late autumn to schedule these appointments, the busy season for the contractors. By scheduling your annual inspection during later summer or early fall, you have fewer people competing for the HVAC professional’s time.

If your furnace is nearing the end of its life, (15 years or older), you face the risk of your heating system failing during the coldest part of the winter. An older furnace is likely to perform less efficiently, leaving you with higher heating bills. The Department of Energy (DOE) says you can increase the efficiency of your system from 56% to 70% up to 98.5% efficiency by upgrading to the new high-efficiency furnaces. An upgrade, says the DOE, can potentially cut pollution output from your system as well as your heating bills in half.

Do you see rust around or on your unit? Are any of the parts showing visible cracks or corrosion? You may not need a new furnace, but your current unit may need repairs. If those repairs require replacement parts, you may wait several days for them to arrive. It’s much less uncomfortable to turn off the furnace during the later days of summer or the early days of fall than to go without heat in the colder season.

A licensed HVAC professional can also detect issues before they become visible problems. Poorly functioning furnaces can give off greater levels of dangerous carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas. A proper inspection can surface threats to your family’s health before these issues become severe. 

To avoid an unwanted failure of your furnace or to prevent competing with many other homeowners for an HVAC professional’s time, schedule a furnace inspection with an HVAC professionals.