Furnace plans: A lot of hot air

Here’s why you’re better off keeping your $10 per month

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From the January 2015 issue of the magazine.

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(iStock)

(iStock)

Now that temperatures are dipping below freezing, some homeowners may be wondering if it’s time to sign up for a furnace protection plan. It seems enticing: The plans cost as little as $10 per month and cover same-day service calls, applicable parts and labour, and an annual diagnostic check-up. But despite appearances, most plans aren’t worth the money, say experts. That’s because common repairs, such as a broken fan (a $600 fix), usually aren’t covered, says Joe Mancini of Mancini Heating and Air Conditioning. Moreover, any furnace less than 10 years old only needs a certified inspection every two years. If you have an older furnace, a protection plan is only cost-effective if the annual inspection is robust. Furnace inspections are not standardized, says heating expert Richard Trethewey, so pay attention to what’s included. A better strategy is to pull out your furnace warranty and figure out what services are already covered. You’ll likely find you already have five to 10 years’ coverage on parts and the compressor, and 20 years on the heat exchanger.

 

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