Should You Get a Furnace Protection Plan From Reliance?

3 min readJan 15, 2022

My furnace broke down, so I started YouTubing a bunch of potential repairs. I learned what a “high limit switch” and a “flame rollout switch” is, and figured out how to reset it, and 3 hours later — my furnace was working again!

Fast forward a week later, and the furnace stops working again. I try doing the same reset trick, but no luck. I spend another 6 hours running up and down the stairs, trying out different suggestions from YouTube but nothing works. I learned a lot more about how furnaces work, but not enough to fix this issue.

I call Reliance to get their protection plan, but it takes 21 days to activate. So I sign up and then pay for a non-Reliance technician to fix it for $80. Turns out the circuit board was a bit loose or faulty.

On the coldest day in January, 25 days after signing up for Reliance, my furnace stops working again. I’m upset but also relieved that my Reliance plan is now active. So I call them. They get a technician in within 4 hours. I’m impressed by how quickly they showed up, during such a busy season.

The guy does the same checks that I did and determines that I needed a new furnace. He says “the heat exchanger is gone”, and says the flame rollout switch and high limit switch are broken.

They set me up to get a quote on a brand new furnace.

However, I called the same technician a month ago. He showed up and fixed my furnace in 10 mins. It was the circuit board again and just needed to get reset and shook a little.

The Reliance Scam

How Reliance operates is simple: they offer “protection plans” and “maintenance” plans for your furnace. If you’ve ever had to do a serious repair on a furnace, it can cost a few hundred dollars, so Reliance’s $20/mth price tag doesn’t sound too bad.

The catch is — they always try to sell you a new furnace. Even if your repair is easily fixed, as in my story above, their “technicians” are really just actors that show up create some fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) by saying your heating system is broken.

Now you’re left thinking “well, a professional checked it out and said I need a new one” and Reliance is right there, waiting with an array of options and suggestions.

It’s the same with maintenance — the yearly “inspection” is not to prolong the longevity of your furnace…


Most of my writing is about software. I enjoy summarizing and analyzing books and self-help videos. I am senior software consultant at