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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Near Philly
    Posts
    98
    I've an 11-year old York high efficiency gas hot air furnace and A/C. It has never been serviced (except for the blower motor I put in last week on my own; still working fine thankfully!). What does maintenance service do for such a system as everything has sealed bearings and the burner flame is nice and blue? I change the air filters monthly.
    Thanks for a great site!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    3
    lets start with your furnace, just because your flame is blue does not mean your gas pressure is correct, and always clean your flame sensor nothing worse then an emergangy call for that,and most time a GOOD service tech will find a failing part before you end up with out heat at 3 a.m. now withyour a/c it's a must a dirty a/c runs harder and cost more to run sometimes causing premature failure of an other wise good unit preventive service can save you thousands later. example lack of refrigerant can cause a compressor to fail just as to much can cause it to slug either way you'll be buying a new unit before you need toooo.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    Let's see if I can push some buttons. Take a look-see. It needs to be updated. I should probably add to it some of the things droberts mentioned. But all in all I've had a quite few techs agree with me on the topic.

    Though 11 years... that is stretching it a bit. But at the same time, get the wrong tech in there and you'll rue the day. I'd recommend maintenance only if you can get a solid referral.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Near Philly
    Posts
    98
    Irascible,
    I liked your link; it said of lot of what I have been thinking. I am concerned a bit about the a/c charge issue. I assume (wrongly?) that over 11 years the unit likely needs a shot of Freon or whatever is used these days R13? I don't know how a tech can look at something a gauge it's chance of failure (like an ignitor which is likely the next thing to go) or can they be tested visually or by some other way? I'm not trying to avoid the expense, only pay for something worthwhile.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    5,000 ft
    Posts
    2,207
    I track all my calls in my PDA and just sorted through the no heats (I excluded my commercial calls) and with extreme accuracy can indicate that just over 93% of the calls could have been prevented by proper maintenance. (Just looked at past 2 months only)

    As well, many of the homeowners paid us a premium charge for after hours. Unfortunately your on the bubble and your time is limited.

    I'd much rather see the H/O pay for the $80.00 or $90.00 for the tune up, than pay me $260.00 for premium time and only find a plugged pressure port and still need to get a tune up. Your call...

    Steve

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    Steve - There's a famous quote about liars, damned liars and statisticians. I'm not saying you're any of the above. But the quote came to mind.

    If you want to be believed then it has to be believable. 93% is absurd on the face of it. To come to such a conclusion you'd have to include all sorts of possibilities that aren't probabilities.

    But I'd be more than willing to concede that maintenance may be worth more than I characterize it to be in my essay if only someone would come up with proof. Even if your 93% number is right, it's one man's experience and is therefore purely anecdotal. It's funny the utter lack of studies out there concerning the topic. Perhaps prospective study authors have all done preliminary homework and figured out that the conclusion wouldn't fit popular myth - which would make them unpopular.

    Howard - The AC is a sealed system. If you've had no leaks and if the system was charged properly during installation, then the charge will be fine. But you have no way of knowing that. Your system most likely uses R-22, which is still readily available. Obviously there are some things that can be gauged and others that can't be. As I indicated earlier, despite my misgivings about how maintenance is dogmatically and blindly promoted - YOU are overdue. It's worth the peace of mind even if they ultimately improve nothing. Hunt around and find someone you can trust.

    [Edited by Irascible on 03-10-2005 at 09:35 PM]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    WYO
    Posts
    2,019
    So steve 3871.. you dont charge 150% of standard time after hours but 300% ? Just curious about your fares .
    never say never

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    St Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    3,468
    Originally posted by howard33
    I've an 11-year old York high efficiency gas hot air furnace and A/C. It has never been serviced (except for the blower motor I put in last week on my own; still working fine thankfully!). What does maintenance service do for such a system as everything has sealed bearings and the burner flame is nice and blue? I change the air filters monthly.
    Thanks for a great site!
    Howard: Just a few things I have found/done

    Found many a high efficiency unit with improper pvc piping due to many reasons. Will it work that way? Yes, but it can and does cause problems. And the 80%ers also have liners and metal venting that needs checking/servicing/replacing.

    Did a PM check, ignitor was working but white spot developing, decided to pass on changing out. Month later I was on call; yep, same furnace, ignitor needed replacing (I should have ohmed it out..it was late...I was overbooked etc). Showed up on call back list against me.
    cost customer emergency rate + part.

    Seen many motors that are prelubed but coated in dust/grime and know this will shorten their life.

    Found many temperature rises that were way out of manufacturers recommendations for many reasons, all unknown and not understood by most homeowners. If left this way the heat exchangers will most certainly fail or have already failed and can become dangerous.

    Found many inshot burners with dryer lint coating a deflector inside or coating the crossovers and seen delayed ignition more than I care to. (If 3 burners light and you hear a hiss, back off, don't turn your head to look).

    Found other things too numerous to mention. And many a service manual/customer info still wrapped in the celophane. If they won't read it, I think they should have me out at least every two years.

    Found many an elderly couple that are not financially strapped and sincerely want the units checked out. I don't care why, but I can tell this is something that gives them piece of mind. So if they sleep better, so do I.

    And this is what irascible says so well on his website.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Central Kansas
    Posts
    1,145
    How many of us can count the times we've discovered potentially life threatening issues while on a routine 'tune up' call. Such as HX failures, corroded vent piping, vent piping not connected, signs of roll out with damaged wiring, sooting. How about just the peace of mind of a CO test? OK I will grant you that 30 yr. old furnaces often have oil ports and perhaps blower belts that are missing on today's units, but there are still items needing investigated. If not every year, at least every two. At 11 yrs., you're unit is getting close to middle aged and needs a check up every so often... just like a lot of us middle aged guys. Trust me- your furnace won't wince having a testo scope inserted once in a while- I guarantee it will be painless. Greg

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    23
    As you guys are talking here about maintenance - when would you recommed to have first checkup of new furnace? I installed new Carrier Infinity furnace in August. Should I do checkup every year? Should I wait first 5 years without chekup as anyway I have 5 year waranty on parts & labour?

    Thanks

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    393

    PM...

    Worked for a company that had a little sticker on the dashboard of their trucks that said...

    Take Care of This Equipment and It Will Take Care of You

    Preventive Maintenance is important, no doubt. There are few pieces of equipment that could ever be labeled "over-maintained".

    An annual inspection seems like a small price to pay for maintenance, provided it is a good inspection.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    956
    I found a whisper heat with a standing pilot.
    That could have been very, very ugly

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    Originally posted by vm020306
    As you guys are talking here about maintenance - when would you recommed to have first checkup of new furnace?
    I'd recommend one now or soon - not because it likely needs anything, but because so many furnaces get installed wrong. It's not such a bad idea having a knowledgeable service tech to evaluate the install. If you totally trust the install crew and think they did things right, then I'm with Greg & Mike on the every two year thing. Or do it every three years. How averse are you to risk? Not doing any at all because of the warranty is silly, of course. You'd never dream of doing that with your car.

    Though I'd never put the two year recommendation down in writing as a company policy. You just KNOW what would happen. Some schmuck would do it ever two years. Something expensive would break in the off year. He'd blame me and sue. I'd lose.
    Originally posted by player89
    Preventive Maintenance is important, no doubt.
    Tsk, tsk. Be careful now. There's that old HVAC wives' tale that I firmly believe happened. Namely, some company sells preventive maintenance to an old lady with an ancient furnace. The ancient furnace's heat exchanger cracks. Of course, the HVAC company is powerless to prevent that from eventually happening. But the lady sues anyway because the maintenance didn't prevent the crack. She wins. She gets free furnace. Personally I never use the word preventive.

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