Furnace repair and vents
A neighbor reports on a conversation with a furnace repairman:

“He told me that furnace vent cleaning (unlike dryer vent cleaning) is a vastly over-sold service for individual furnaces of the vintage of our buildings (that is, all those apart from Building 9). Furnaces from the time our buildings were constructed are fitted with various safety devices, one feature of which is to cut down air circulation if the filters are getting too dirty and clogged. This situation will affect the working of thermostats in various areas of the units.

“He suggests that before investing in possibly unnecessary vent cleaning, homeowners try changing filters. In many cases this could restore the correct functioning of the furnace. He also suggested that replacement filters not be the cheapest available; those costing $15 to $20 will do a much better job, and also cut down on allergens in the household. Filters should be checked every year or so, and replaced if they look black and cruddy.” January 2009

Other furnace experts recommend the Ace Hardware filters (a bargain at $.99) and to change them every three-four months. November 2009

Two recommendations from UT homeowners for “furnace guys” —

  • Ceridono Heating, 510.528.1622 February 2011
  • L.J. Kruse, 920 Pardee Street, Berkeley 94710, 510.644.0260 November 2009
  • Atlas Heating and Air Conditioning, 1451 32nd Street, Oakland, recommended January 2022 by Alix Schwartz.