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Living Smart: Furnace Maintenance

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By Angie Hicks

furnace_maintenance(MCT)—Here’s a hot tip for fall: Take action now so that a furnace problem doesn’t leave you in the cold.

An inspection and tuneup will help ensure that your heating system is winter-ready, safe and efficient.

Our consumer-services researchers found that the price of a furnace inspection can start as low as $65 to $85. But the cost of neglecting furnace maintenance can be high, not only in terms of cost, but in convenience and safety.

Heating pros tell our team that 75 percent of emergency winter calls can be attributed to lack of maintenance. A neglected heating system may break down when you most need it. It can also lead to higher energy bills. In the worst-case scenario, an untended furnace may emit colorless, odorless but deadly carbon monoxide.

Our researchers found that during a thorough heating-system inspection, a technician will:

—Check electrical connections and test voltage, to make sure system components aren’t likely to fail any time soon.

—Lubricate moving parts. Insufficient lubrication can decrease overall efficiency and create early wear and tear.

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