Our Knowledgeable Pros Answer Common Heating FAQs

Home heating systems can be pretty complex. So when our customers call with questions or concerns—like what AFUE ratings are or what to do if they smell gas—we answer honestly to put their minds at ease. Below are answers to our most common heating FAQs from homeowners just like you.

The average furnace lifespan is 15 to 20 years. However, some can safely last 30 years or more with routine care from a professional. We recommend customers invest in our Sabre Blue Maintenance Program to ensure their heating and cooling systems are cared for properly and never miss an annual appointment.
Try these tips before calling for help:

  • Check that your thermostat is set to HEAT and to a temperature that’s warmer than the room.
  • Make sure the fan is set to ON to ensure it’s running.
  • Raise the thermostat temperature a few degrees to see if that gets the furnace or boiler to kick in.
  • Check to see if air registers are open and clear of blockages.
  • Make sure there are no blown fuses in your electrical panel.

If none of these tips help you restore heat, call our pros at 763-473-2267 for routine or emergency repair service.

Furnaces and boilers are both great heating options, but homes are set up for one or the other so that’s what we recommend homeowners stick with. Furnaces require ductwork to move warm air through your home while boilers use piping to move warm water. Switching from one to the other is extremely expensive, but if you’re building a new home, we can gladly install whichever you prefer during construction.
Your furnace should be serviced with a professional inspection and cleaning at least once a year. This important appointment maintains efficiency, ensures all the moving parts are in safe working condition, and helps prevent breakdowns caused by problems that go unnoticed and unfixed.

If you have a boiler, maintenance frequency will depend on its make/model and age. These systems often require little maintenance and can go longer in-between appointments. Ask your Sabre technician for a recommendation.

Here are a few common signs:

  • Your furnace is at least 15 years’ old
  • Your heating bill is increasing without you changing your settings
  • Your furnace is making strange noises
  • You rarely feel comfortable, even after adjusting your thermostat

If you suspect you might need a new furnace soon, schedule an appointment with one of our pros. They can let you know if it’s time to start shopping for a new one.

Annual fuel utilization efficiency ratings represent how efficiently your furnace operates. For example, a system with an AFUE of 80 percent turns 80 percent of its consumed fuel into heat. High-efficiency models can have ratings as high as 98.7 percent. The higher the rating, the more money you’ll save on energy bills.
Yes! Humidified air holds warmth much better than dry air, so homeowners often find that they feel warm even at lower temperatures with a humidifier installed and subsequently save money on energy bills. More than feeling warm and comfortable, humidifiers also help prevent illnesses from spreading because cold- and flu-causing germs thrive in dry conditions, not humidified ones. Ask your Sabre technician if you could benefit from a humidifier in your home.
Turn off the heat on your thermostat and get your family and pets out of the house immediately. Then call Sabre and your local gas company to report the problem. Someone will come out to shut off the gas and find out what’s causing the issue.

If you know where your gas meter is, you can shut the gas off yourself. You’ll see two pipes connected to your gas meter, one that goes into the ground and one that goes into the side of your home. Use a pipe wrench to turn off the valve coming from the ground (should be in the horizontal position). Even if you’re able to turn the gas off yourself, you still need to contact your gas company and an HVAC professional right away.

Schedule annual maintenance appointments, leave your air registers open to keep air moving freely, and remember to replace your air filter regularly. One-inch air filters should be replaced once every three months or more often if you have pets or someone has allergies or an illness. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can go much longer—you only need to clean or replace them once every six months to a year. Each of these seemingly simple tasks can make all the difference in your system’s efficiency and help extend its lifespan.

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Ask us online or give us a call to get the advice or answer you need.