Fixing my Furnace and the Value of Professional Advice

Jun 28, 2019 | Jamie Galbraith


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This blog post is going to have nothing to do with finance. Instead, it is going to have everything to do with my furnace!

This blog post is going to have nothing to do with finance. Instead, it is going to have everything to do with my furnace! Yesterday I had a friend come by and look at my furnace. He has been in the heating and cooling business for years, and he took the time to teach me all of the things I did not know about how to maintain my central air.

Did you know that you are meant to have maintenance done on your furnace every year? And your ducts cleaned every 5-7 years? And that your furnace has a filter and depending on the quality of your filter you should change it EVERY MONTH? I didn’t know these things. I have been living in my house for the last 3 years. I had a really low quality filter. It was so disgusting when my friend finally pulled it out, he looked like he might cry. Or laugh. He took a photo of it to post on his heating and cooling group. They have competitions about the worst filters. Mine was not the worst he had seen, but it was note-worthy.

I learned that the filters are rated on something called the MERV scale. My filter was a 2 on the MERV scale. This is obviously on the very low quality side, and it needs to be changed every month. If you have a MERV 8 filter than that filter works to filter the air at the same level as your lungs, helping you breathe more easily. Anything higher than an 8 is for people who have asthma or allergies and really need the air quality to be top notch. As we don’t have allergies or asthma in my house, I will stick with a MERV 8 Filter which still needs to be changed every two months.

As my filter was not doing its job properly, I likely have a bunch of dust getting sucked into the mechanics of my furnace. This is a bad thing. I am now  paying to get everything cleaned, but more than that I am going to be part of a service plan where I pay around $10 per month, and they will call me and remind me to get my furnace maintained.

I am so excited to be on this monthly plan, because it means not only do I get reminders to stay on top of my furnace health, I also get other perks like priority service, and a discount on my after-hours emergency maintenance work. I see the value in this service and really appreciate the professional advice.

This all got me thinking about how we provide a similar service to our clients. We are at the other end of the phone in case of an emergency, and we also work to proactively contact our clients to remind them to take actions that are good for their financial health. We send out reminders to: make those TFSA contributions; don’t forget that the RSP contribution deadline is coming up; be aware of the changes to income splitting; etc. In addition we try to offer seminars and teaching opportunities so we can educate our clients on financial literacy, and aspects of investing that they find useful and interesting. Just like my clients, I can only be an expert in a certain number of fields, and for me furnace maintenance is not one of them. I sure know a lot more about heating and cooling than I used to, and I’m happy to pay for the experts to do the rest!

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