DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - As central Illinois heads deeper into fall, the overnight lows are getting chillier by the week. Now, many people are turning to their furnaces to heat their homes.

WAND News spoke with Jeremy Tennyson, an Air King Service Technician, for ways to make sure a furnace is ready to go.

"Can you put a price on your life? I can't," Tennyson said. "So, definitely, $86, it's worth it." 

That's how much Tennyson said an Air King routine furnace inspection costs. He said whether it's his company or not, it's critical for a homeowner to get their furnace checked by a professional each year.

"We're going to figure out problems before you would," Tennyson shared. "I've run into furnaces before where people have literally un-wired the entire thing trying to figure out the problem."

Tennyson said beside dealing with the mechanics of a furnace like wiring, or seized motors, there's other issues a homeowner should let a heating and air technician handle.

"Birds nest in the flue pipes," he explained. "The newer furnaces have safeties on them where they're measuring the air flow coming out of your flues, the older furnaces do not. So, you can get carbon monoxide in the house that way. You know, if you have an older furnace that is not safe, get it checked before you turn it on."

Where the ball is in a homeowner's court is in changing the air filter. Tennyson said it's good to change it monthly, and suggests writing the date it's changed on the side. Clean filters help the furnace operate smoothly, reducing the need for other heat sources, which can be a fire hazard.

"Like your space heaters, stuff like that, you know, they use extension cords to get them in certain areas when they're not rated for that," Tennyson said. "Not to mention furnaces can cost you way more than what a new furnace can, you know, power bill wise. I would look into a new furnace if you've got an extremely old one."

There are many programs available offering rebates or rewards for upgrading a furnace or choosing more energy efficient options:

Ameren Illinois Energy Incentives

Energy Star Rebate Finder

Air King Specials