This Is Not The Year To Skip Out On Heater Maintenance

This fall, every HVAC contractor you’ll come across will tell you about getting a furnace check-and-clean. They do it every year. Heck, we do it, too. It’s always a good idea, after all. But, this time around, the stakes are much, much higher.

Thanks to some rough weather predictions combined with unprecedented supply chain issues, believe us when we say: Autumn of 2021 is NOT the time to skip out on furnace maintenance.

Paying for natural gas will be worse than usual. Buying a new heater could be a nightmare. And, the Fox River Valley has seen some harsh winters lately. This one won’t be any better.

That all makes a check-and-clean one of your best bets for making it through the winter without any sudden financial hardships — or freezing your butt off for a few days.

What we’re saying is: Don’t panic. Just be prepared.

Preventative maintenance is an easy and inexpensive way to keep you safe and warm all winter. You’ll use less gas. And, you’re far less likely to get stuck trying to buy a new heater in a horrible market — a potential problem for any gas, electric, and oil models.

We’ll get into the how’s and why’s of a check-and-clean in a moment. For now, the question is, Why is this year so bad?

Higher Prices And Low Inventory For Heaters

As the world crawls out of the mess that was 2020, we’re seeing all sorts of problems with inflation and resource shortages. That all trickles down to the HVAC industry in a bad way.

Here’s what’s happening:

  1. The price of copper, which is used as a heat conductor, increased more than 30 percent this year. Prices hit a two-month peak in October. Now, contractors across the country are noticing a shortage.
  2. Microchips, used in everything from your thermostat to ductless air handlers to even traditional furnaces, are tougher to find now, too. One contractor in Wisconsin waited months for new ACs and almost two weeks for water heaters — products that were usually available the next day from wholesalers.
  3. Factories were closed in 2021, and most are now experiencing labor shortages. As a result, manufacturers can’t keep up with demand. We saw this over the summer with air conditioners and expect the same with heaters.

A Rough Winter Ahead

  1. The big news this week is the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicting natural gas households to spend 30 percent more on gas this year. That’s due just to supply and demand, not weather. Elsewhere, propane households could spend up to 54 percent more, oil 43 percent more, and electricity anywhere from four to 15 percent more.
  2. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a “Season of Shivers” and “One of the longest and coldest we’ve seen in years” this winter. The NOAA announced a La Nina, which often means a cold, snowy winter. We’ll update this article when they release their formal predictions on October 21.
    Okay, enough doomscrolling. What can you do to keep you and your family safe and warm this winter?

A Clean-And-Check Gets You Ready For A Rough Winter

A clean-and-check prepares your furnace, heat pump, or other heater for the hard work it’s about to do. That’s the same every year. It’s just that, going into the winter of 2021-2022, you really want to make sure your system is in great shape.

We talk much more about clean-and-checks here and here. In short, a tech cleans it out, makes sure all the moving parts are lubricated and optimized, and replaces anything that’s worn-down or already broken.

For this article, let’s focus on energy efficiency and avoiding breakdowns.

Use Less Gas
Or propane. Or electric. The point is that, this winter, you want to use less of whatever you use to heat your home. A quick maintenance visit isn’t a cure-all. But, it’s a great start.

When your system is in great shape, it produces more heat, and circulates it throughout your house, while using fewer resources. That means way less on your utility bills.

Avoiding Breakdowns
Don’t leave things up to chance! An HVAC tech can head off all sorts of problems before they happen. They can also let you know if there’s a chance your system won’t make it through the winter.

That’s never great news to hear. But, you can get ahead of the problem by choosing a system and lining up financing if the worst-case scenario comes to pass.

You’ll avoid sky-high prices on units and long wait times this season. You also don’t want to get stuck for a decade or more with a system that’s not what you wanted — but that you bought because it was the only one available.

Instead, you’ll get the system you want. Or, maybe even take the time to consider an upgrade.

Furnace And Heat Pump Maintenance Near Hoffman Estates, IL

Call Compass Heating and Air today for your furnace or heat pump maintenance. We serve the Fox River Valley, including Hoffman Estates, East Dundee, and Barrington. Even if you’re already using your heater, we can still inspect it. It only takes an hour and costs way less than the cost of a repair later in the season.