Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

Updated 2/27/19

A scheduled check-up for your furnace is probably at the bottom of your to-do list. However, as we approach the colder months, now is the smartest time to make sure your furnace is ready to provide you maximum comfort throughout the season.

Among the leading ways to prevent a breakdown and make sure it runs as it should is with yearly scheduled tune-ups on your furnace. Just like all mechanical equipment, the life of a furnace will be extended with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are performing efficiently. Also, regular cleanings can help pinpoint issues before they become big problems and you end up paying emergency rates on a cold winter night. Plus, because furnaces burn fuel to provide the heat, it’s important to take a look at all the various parts to ensure there aren’t any ruptures or leaks that could impact the safety of your family. Taking the time to schedule a tune-up, even if your system appears to be functioning properly, will save you time, stress, and money throughout the heating season.

Is it true my warranty is voided if I don’t get my furnace serviced?

Most manufacturers’ warranties call for annual HVAC maintenance to stay valid, so missing your tune-ups can possibly result in losing your heating or AC system warranty, which can be major money if your equipment does ever stop working in the middle of a cold snap. Make sure you get all you can from your warranty by making sure it stays valid as long as possible with routine furnace system tune-ups from Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

Close-up of furnace burners

What can I do to troubleshoot my furnace before calling a tech for service?

Here are a couple troubleshooting tips we suggest checking out early on in the heating season:

1. Inspect your home’s air filter 

Air filters can easily be written off, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Dirty air filters can mean a host of comfort issues for homeowners, including:

    • working
    • Restricted airflow
    • Reduced efficiency
    • Increased energy bills

If you take out your home’s air filter, hold it up to a light. If you can’t see light coming through it, it’s most likely been a while since your last heating service, and likely time to swap it out. If it’s a simple disposable air filter, just replace it with a like-size new one. It’s also a good idea to write down the date you installed the new filter, so you know how old it is next time it needs to be changed. Check the filter packaging to see how long the new air filter is designed to be used.

2. Double check your thermostat. 

    • One of the most basic tasks that homeowners can do is check the thermostat.
    • Make sure it is set to Heat and not Cool, and that the temperature setting is greater than the current indoor temperature.
    • If you can’t remember the last time you replaced your thermostat’s battery, now is the perfect time to do it.
    • When first going over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to make certain that it is operating properly and heating your home’s air.

3. Open up your air vents. 

There’s a common misconception that you can boost your savings by shutting the vents (supply registers) in rooms that aren’t being used. Resist the urge to close too many, as doing so can actually increase the pressure in your furnace, making it work harder to heat your home. This can cause busted blower motors, mold or mildew in your air ducts, damage to the compressor, a cracked heat exchanger, and other problems.

    • Full inspection. The service should include a full visual and point inspection to check all the working parts of your furnace and duct system. A qualified technician should be able to let you know if your equipment or individual parts are showing signs of wear during this review.
    • Lubrication. Mechanical equipment needs lubrication to eliminate friction between the functioning parts. Your system tune-up should include a complete lubrication.
    • Pilot and gas pressure adjustment. As part of your tune-up, changes may be made to the pilot and gas pressure when needed to reestablish these elements to the designed specifications.
    • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a normal 1” filter replacement with your service. Most furnace filters need to be replaced at least every 90 days, which can enhance efficiency and prevent operational complications.
    • Written assessment. Credible HVAC companies should give you their analysis in writing or on the receipt with your tune-up, including their professional maintenance suggestions for the coming year. This valuable information can help you figure out the current condition of your furnace and outline ways to lower your energy bills.

 4. Is the Furnace Getting Electricity? 

Change the thermostat to “on” from “auto” to force the fan to turn on. If the fan comes on, power is working right, but if it doesn’t, your furnace could be lacking power.

5. Is the Furnace Switch Operating Properly? 

Every furnace includes a power switch (similar to a light switch) either on the furnace or on a nearby wall. Flip the switch and wait a couple of minutes to see if it helps to turn the furnace on. Also check to see if all access panels and doors on the furnace are completely closed.

6. Condensate Drainage 

High-efficiency furnaces can drain off several gallons of water each day. If the drain lines are clogged with dirt and debris, the furnace will shut down.

7. Assess Vents for Blockage 

If your home has a furnace that vents out the side of the house, check to see if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Make sure the area is clear of leaves, animal nests, or snow/ice.

What Should You Expect After a Furnace Tune-Up?

Improved Function 

Your heating and air conditioning system naturally loses energy efficiency over time. This loss of efficiency is due to many factors, including dust and dirt, natural wear and tear, and buildup in drains or on burners. Keeping your heating system maintained with regular professional tune-ups can help to reduce these factors. During your tune-up, your maintenance technician will clean and check over your furnace, identifying areas of concern. They can identify failing parts in need of replacement before they become a larger problem. A tune-up alone could instantly improve energy efficiency by up to 30%. You’ll also enjoy cleaner air and a cleaner home because your HVAC system will be distributing clean air through a clean air filter. Perhaps one of the largest benefits you’ll enjoy following a fall furnace or AC tune-up is diminished utility bills. A poorly-maintained HVAC system must work overtime to heat and cool your home, while a furnace or air conditioner that has been expertly tuned can take less energy to guarantee indoor comfort. Because your heating system will function more efficiently, it will deliver superior heating at lower cost than you otherwise may have had through the winter season.

A Longer-Lasting HVAC System 

Your HVAC system is an important appliance with a limited lifetime. Depending on use, with regular maintenance you can expect your furnace and air conditioner to last between 8-18 years before you will need to consider replacement. However, poor maintenance is one of the top reasons for earlier replacement HVAC systems prior to end of average life expectancy.

If you’re wondering how much a furnace tune up costs, you can rest easy knowing it’s not going to break the bank. Sometimes we have special offers in your local area that you can use to justify your next Starbucks run.

It’s preferable to take action now and be prepared than to regret it during the middle of winter when your furnace takes a dive. If you would like to learn more about what a furnace tune-up includes, or how it benefits you—give our experts a call at 866-397-3787 or schedule an appointment online.

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