There are tons of simple maintenance items around the home that if neglected will cost more to fix than it would if they were regularly maintained.
I am not talking about big maintenance items like keeping the house painted or the roof repaired etc. I am talking about the really simple stuff like changing the furnace filter regularly.
There is no set rule as to how often the furnace filter needs to be changed. It will vary due to lots of factors—all related to how much the heating and/or cooling system is used and how much crud is in the air. People that have pets or live next door to lint factories will likely need to change their filters more often.
As a general rule I tell clients to change them at least every 6 months at first. If they are still really dirty after that time frame, change them more frequently. If they are not dirty at all, try stretching out the time period until you find what works for your particular life style.
I got thinking about all this due to a maintenance sticker I saw on the side of a furnace the other day. It had two notes indicating that the service technician changed the filter. In the first instance the technician recorded that they advised the tenant as to how to change the filter. In the later instance it appeared as if the service call was entirely related to changing the filter. Now that would be an expensive way to maintain the filter.
Changing the filter is a very easy thing to do, and every homeowner should take this on if they don’t want the high cost of the service technician to do it. Damage to the furnace heat exchanger can occur as a result of clogged filters, so not waiting until the service technician is there to do it is considered prudent. If the cost of replacing the filter by an HVAC technician is too high, how about having to replace your furnace to get it changed?
One can buy hundreds of filters for the cost of a new furnace.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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