Depending of your tolerance for house temperature level you may have turned on your furnace for the season already. Most of you probably haven't used it since early spring. So it is a good time to talk about furnace maintenance. Modern furnaces use electronic ignitors so there is no need for liting pilots. However, the minimum you should do is to change your filter which extends the life of your HVAC equipment and ducts by keeping dusts away. Typically in this area you should change your filter 2 times a year for furnace only and 3 times if you have AC. You may also consider having a licensed HVAC technician do a profession cleaning and check up once a year. They should check all gas/electric connections, operations, and clean the interior compartments of the furnace including the induction motor. For condensing furnaces they should also check the drain line to make sure water drains properly.
If your furnace is older than 20 years we recommend you call PG&E to do a carbon monoxide test on an annual basis. This is a free service from them. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that is deadly if inhaled in an excessive amount. For central furnace it comes from gas leaked from the combustion chamber into the air stream. This occurs when the furnace develops cracks in the heat exchanger as it gets old. If an unacceptable level of carbon monoxide is detected you should have the furnace replaced or repaired. Based on our experience the high cost of a replacement heat exchanger part (assuming you can even locate one) for older furnaces makes the repair option unjustifiable.
I hope that helps you get ready for the winter. Next time we will talk about the different features you can find on modern furnaces. Feel free to drop us a line if you have any question or comments.