You should also have air ducts cleaned after recent water contamination or water damage to prevent mold; after renovations or remodeling to ensure debris and dust didn’t settle in the vents and ducts; if you are having problems with allergies or asthma; or when you are moving into a newly purchased home, especially if the previous owners smoked or had pets. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends getting your air ducts cleaned every three to five years, or every two to three years in regions where homeowners use their air conditioning and heater for many months of the year, while the EPA suggests homeowners have duct cleaning done as needed.
A number of other variables can influence your decision on whether to repair or replace your furnace, as well. In addition to cost and brand, consider the expected lifetime of your furnace. If it is more than 15 years old, it might make more sense to invest in a new unit even if it costs more than simply repairing the current problem. Long-term costs also play into the equation. For example, your new furnace may be more energy efficient than the current unit. Even though you will pay more for the actual installation, you might be able to make back your investment through lower energy bills. To make your decision, consult with a reliable professional on what to do. In inspecting your furnace, they will be able to make an informed recommendation that looks not just to the next year, but years into the future. That way, you can make the best possible decision for your home and budget long-term.
In addition to the information below, see these two articles for the general care and maintenance of your air conditioner: Preparing Your Air Conditioner for Summer and How to Replace Furnace & AC Filters. Most noteworthy, you should replace the filters at least twice a year, before the heating and cooling seasons. For information on furnace problems, please see Furnace Not Working.