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We have dodged it so far, but it is coming - and it might last for a while. Is your house ready?

According to my weather lady, it is going to get cold. Seems it does it every year about this time. It's called "winter".

Is your furnace ready to keep you comfy? Maybe?


I want to be clear right off the bat. The SINGLE BEST WAY for you to make sure your furnace is ready is to have a hvac professional come out to your house and do a thorough inspection.

If you have never had your system inspected by a pro, now is the time.

If you have an older system (10 years old or older) and you would like to squeeze extra life out of the system, now is the time to have it inspected by a pro.

If you had higher than normal energy bills last winter, now is the time to have your system inspected by a pro.

What makes this the perfect time is that with no hot weather on the horizon, and no freezing cold weather either for that matter, your favorite hvac company is just sitting around looking for work.

Your timing couldn't be better.

You can figure a quality inspection by a quality company will run you under $175 per system, per year. If you already are the proud owner of a maintenance agreement with a hvac company, you are a step ahead. Congrats.

Why is it so important to have a quality furnace check-up done?

Because unlike your faulty air conditioner, your faulty furnace can bring bad news with it.

If your a/c goes out, you will be hot and sweaty and inconvenienced and that's about it.

However, if your furnace goes bad, you can be dealing with carbon monoxide poisoning which is downright deadly. That is why it is very important to make sure your furnace is up to snuff.

Now I understand that money is tight, and say maybe you have a unit that is 5-7 years old and you haven't had any trouble with it so you are just going to poke and hope for the best for this winter.

That's fine, (you should still have a maintenance agreement though to make sure things are in tip-top shape every year) - but at least run through the following checklist yourself to make sure the basics are in order.

- Find your filter and change or clean it! A clean filter means a happier unit. (Here's a bonus tip - change it again in the spring. Here's a double bonus tip - change it every three months while you are at it.)

- Check the flame. It should be burning blue. A yellow flame or a sparkly looking flame is a danger sign. A blue flame is a healthy flame.

- Look for rust on and around your burners and heat exchanger. Rust is a danger sign. It means your system is fatiguing and you should call a pro.

- Check your exhaust pipe (flue pipe) to make sure it is fully connected leaving your system. Now go up into your attic and make sure it is connected all the way through your roof.

If you have had a new roof installed recently, it is very important that you check the flue pipe in the attic. Occasionally a roofer will forget to re-connect the flue pipe which means your furnace is venting into your attic. Dangerous. Not good.

Now get to it and don't forget - a new high efficient system can qualify for rebates and credits. You can also find new high efficiency systems that come with $0 repair costs for the life of that system. Don't get caught sitting on the fence - if you think you need a new or a more efficient system, pull the trigger now.