Homeowner contemplating the difference between cheap and affordable furnace repair

Affordable Furnace Repair vs. Cheap Furnace Repair

There’s a big difference between cheap furnace repair and affordable furnace repair!

When you need furnace repair services, we understand price is important to you. But if the price is too low, it can lead to more costs down the road.

Here a few of the reasons why price should not be your only consideration in choosing a furnace repair or installation service:

Improper Repairs

Companies promising prices that are far below the market average often cut corners when it comes to employee training and certification or quality parts and equipment. This can result in poorly executed repairs that will not solve your original problem and may even cause new issues to develop with your heating system.

Return Visits

Many low-cost contractors do not guarantee their furnace repair work. When you have to call the company back several times to solve the same problem, you are shouldered with the burden of the extra expense and wasted time. That’s not exactly affordable furnace repair!

Poor Advice

A reputable service company takes pride in educating its customers in how to maintain their furnace and related systems in order to prevent problems, know when service is needed, and make their home more energy efficient. Technicians from low-cost contractors may not have the training, experience, and knowledge to offer this kind of advice. Less scrupulous companies may even try to steer customers in the wrong direction in order to make more money.

No Guarantee of Follow-up Support

Even the best HVAC system occasionally needs service and repair. When this situation arises, you need to know the company performing the installation or repairs will be there for support later on. If you choose a low-cost contractor, you are taking a risk the company will not be around to support the warranty on the equipment or that shoddy workmanship many even negate part of your manufacturer’s warranty, leaving you to pay the cost of the repairs.

Choosing a cheap furnace repair contractor will often cost you more in the long run when you take into account the repeated services calls, system breakdowns and increased utility bills.

Instead of cheap, think affordable furnace repair!

Tips for Choosing a Furnace Repair Company

Your family’s comfort is dependent upon finding a skilled technician to diagnose and repair your furnace problem. The following guide can help you narrow the field.

  • Look for a company that is licensed and bonded and offers technicians with years of experience in the industry.
  • Take the time to check out the company’s online customer reviews. It is also a good idea to ask for customer references you can contact about their experience.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if the company has a pattern of complaints.
  • Ask for in-person estimates from multiple contractors.
  • Make sure all estimates are in writing and provide a detailed breakdown of all charges.
  • If one estimate is significantly higher or lower than the others, ask the contractor for a justification. If the reason does not make sense, it is best to walk away.
  • Make sure all work is guaranteed and all equipment comes with a warranty.
  • Make sure all warranties and guarantees are in writing and the service contract clearly outlines your options in the event you are dissatisfied or have a problem.

At Swan Heating, we are family-owned and operated. Our customers are our neighbors, so we are dedicated to providing professional and affordable furnace repair services to Denver homeowners using highly-trained technicians and quality parts and equipment.

We ensure all of our trucks are properly equipped to handle your situation. All of our technicians have Environmental Protection Agency and North American Technician Excellence certifications. Before being hired, all of our furnace techs also undergo drug screening and extensive background checks for your safety.

We stand behind our furnace repair service by offering a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, and we will provide you with a straightforward, written estimate. Our team is available 24/7 for emergency calls, and we guarantee same day service. We also offer club membership which provides priority service and discounts on repairs.

At Swan, our mission is to be Denver’s most trusted and affordable furnace repair service provider. If your HVAC system is in need of routine maintenance or emergency service, contact us for an estimate or to schedule a service call. We look forward to serving you and your family.

young boy pinching his nose because of furnace smells

Phew, What’s That Smell? 4 Furnace Smells To Watch For

Furnaces heat and distribute air through your home. Sometimes, problems can occur with a furnace that result in unpleasant or weird odors, either radiating from the furnace itself or blowing out of the ducts and vents. Here are four different furnace smells and what you might want to do about them!

Common Furnace Smells

Gas Smell

This one is pretty straightforward: if you smell a sulfur or rotten egg odour coming from your furnace or vents, you may have a natural gas issue. Regardless of whether the smell comes from your vents or from the furnace itself, shut the unit off immediately. Leave your home as quickly as you can, making sure to turn the gas off on the way out if possible. Call your gas company — they will be able to safely shut the gas off to your home so that a technician can diagnose the issue.

Natural gas leaks can be the result of a cracked or otherwise damaged heat exchanger, or due to issues with the gas line itself. In either case, don’t try to diagnose the leak yourself. Trained technicians have the equipment and knowledge to fix whatever’s wrong safely, once the gas has been turned off.

Dusty Burning Smell

This is by far the most common of the furnace smells we encounter  — for many people, this smell is an annual occurrence. During the summer months, furnaces typically sit unused. In many homes, particularly homes with pets and families, dust will begin to build up in the furnace. Once autumn rolls around and the furnace kicks in, all that dust gets burned away. Unless the furnace has been cleaned prior to getting turned on, you can expect to smell a funky, burnt dust smell for a few minutes the first time you run your unit. There is little to no risk of fire or health concerns stemming from burnt dust. If the smell bothers you, you may want to book a furnace cleanup or tuning prior to turning your unit on for the first time. This ought to eliminate or minimize dust smells, while also ensuring your furnace is operating safely and efficiently.

Moldy, Damp, or Funky Smell

While furnaces typically don’t have issues with moisture buildup, it’s not unheard of, particularly in high humidity areas. If you smell a sour, earthy, or otherwise funky odor from your vents or furnace unit, you may have a moisture issue in your system.

Moisture is one of a few ingredients that contribute to mold and bacteria growth, the others being darkness, oxygen, and warmth. Your ventilation system has the last three items covered, so if moisture gets trapped in the system somehow, you can very quickly have a mold problem on your hands!

Before panicking, make sure that the source of the smell isn’t something more mundane. Are there any air intakes positioned near potentially smelly objects like garbage cans or compost bins? Is the smell localized to one room or area, or present throughout the home? Once you’re fairly confident that there aren’t any obvious sources for the odor, call a technician to inspect your vents and furnace. Fixing a mold problem involves removing the mold itself, as well as diagnosing and fixing whatever moisture problem is present. If the source of excess moisture is a leaky pipe or damaged roof, the repair is simple enough. If the air in your home is simply too damp, a dehumidifier attachment will reduce moisture content in the air, preventing mold as well as improving your home comfort.

Another possible cause of funky, sour smells in your ventilation system is pest infestation. Rodents and other small pests can cause all sorts of damage to the ventilation system. Their urine and feces can collect in air ducts, spreading foul odors and potentially dangerous microbes through your home. Pests can die and decay inside ducts as well. An inspection will quickly identify any pest issue you may have.

Chemical/Burning Plastic Furnace Smells

If you smell a strange, acrid, burning plastic smell from your furnace, you may have an electrical issue. Electrical components, particularly the blower fan, cycle on and off frequently. Over time, these components can wear out and become inefficient or perform poorly. As components wear out, they can begin to generate more heat than usual. This can sometimes cause burning smells as the materials in the fan motor overheat.

Another possible cause of a burning plastic smell involves frayed or poorly connected wires in your furnace. Either of these issues can cause short fuses, damage other furnace components, or even cause electrical fires. If you smell burning plastic, turn your furnace off immediately and call a furnace repair technician!

Read more about common furnace problems including unusual noises or how to choose a filter.

Dog covered by blanket when heat won't come on

My Heat Won’t Come On! What Do I Do?

Furnaces are the sort of thing you probably don’t think about until something goes wrong. When the weather’s nice and the sun is shining, we rarely stop to think about whether or not our furnace needs a tune-up or a filter change. Then, the cold weather hits, we flick the thermostat on, and… nothing. The heat won’t come on. Maybe you wait a few minutes to see if it just needs to warm up, but nothing happens. Now you’re in trouble – it’s cold outside and you have no heat!

Your top priority is to diagnose and fix the problem. You can’t go through a winter without heat, after all. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. Unfortunately, when the first big cold snap hits in autumn or winter, many Denverites find out their furnace either doesn’t work or doesn’t work well — all at the same time. Getting an appointment within 24 hours with a heating professional during peak season can get tricky — it’s one of the reasons Swan recommends getting your furnace tuned each Fall before the weather turns. That way, you have peace of mind that when the first snow falls, your furnace will come on without a hitch.

Find out how our monthly maintenance program can save you money and keep your heating and cooling systems running better, longer!

But we’re past that now. The furnace isn’t working and you’re getting chilly. What do you do? First, call for help. Even if you can’t get an appointment today, you will want to get booked in before someone else snags your appointment slot! In the meantime, your priority is to keep warm and comfortable until help arrives.

Use Alternative Sources When The Heat Won’t Come On

Provided your furnace is out but your electricity is still on, you have some options for keeping the house warm without a working furnace. In fact, most of us have a big heater right in the middle of our kitchens.

The Oven

Now, it isn’t safe or energy efficient to turn the oven on broil and leave the door open to heat your home. If you use a gas oven, you need to be extra-cautious. Without adequate ventilation, running a gas oven for hours can be very dangerous. However, the ambient heat from cooking a roast, for instance, will gently warm the kitchen and any adjacent rooms over the course of a few hours.

Space Heaters

Another option when your heat won’t come on is to use space heaters. Many of us have space heaters to supplement our furnaces in particularly cold areas of the home, or just as an emergency backup. If you don’t have one, you can find affordable and efficient infrared heaters for as little as $30 or so. These won’t put out enough heat to warm your entire home, but will provide enough heat to warm a single, smaller room, or part of a larger room. There are many varieties of space heaters. Be sure you know how to operate your particular heater safely, and don’t leave it unattended.

In case of a longer-term furnace outage, you may want to consider renting a more powerful heater. Be sure you understand how to safely operate any large heater. Many of them run on kerosene, propane, or other fossil fuels that will require adequate ventilation to operate safely.

Wood Stoves and Fireplaces

Finally, many homes still have fireplaces and wood stoves. If yours is in operating condition (don’t assume your chimney is clean and ready for a fire if you never use it — chimney fires are extremely dangerous!) and you have some dried firewood available, wood stoves and fireplaces generate plenty of heat and some cozy ambience to boot!

Dress for the Conditions

When your heat won’t come on, the cheapest way to stay warm is to bundle up. Pull out the heavy down blankets and Christmas sweaters! Layering clothing helps your body retain heat and dramatically lowers the need for heaters. You might not be totally comfortable in a cold house — bathing isn’t ideal, and fingers and toes still get chilly — but you can endure it by dressing for the conditions.

Use and Heat Fewer Rooms in Your Home

Heating an entire house is a big challenge. Furnaces make it easier and more efficient than ever — when they work. Heating an entire detached home with electric space heaters can get expensive quickly, and often means you’re heating rooms with no people in them. When your heat’s out, close off any rooms you don’t really need to use right away and focus on heating rooms where you and your family can camp out for a while. People generate a lot of heat, so a group of people in one room will lessen the load on any portable heaters you’re using. If you plan on using other rooms soon (like you’re headed to bed), just move heaters into the new room an hour before you plan on leaving the already-warmed area. As one room cools off, the next will warm up.

Take an Impromptu Staycation!

If all else fails and you won’t be able to get your furnace fixed and heat restored promptly, consider spending a night or two with friends or family, or at a hotel. This isn’t always feasible, but in some situations, like during a long-term winter power outage, it may be the safest and simplest way to stay warm.