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 less-popular winter months, now is the smartest time to guarantee your furnace is ready to provide you maximum comfort throughout the season.

Among the leading ways to stop your furnace from going on strike and make sure it runs efficiently is with yearly scheduled tune-ups on your furnace. Just like all mechanical equipment, the working life of a furnace will be extended with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are performing efficiently. Plus, regular cleanings can help pinpoint concerns before they become big problems and you end up cashing out for emergency rates on a cold winter night. Additionally, because furnaces burn fuel to make it hot, it’s important to inspect all the various parts to ensure there aren’t any ruptures or leaks that could impact the safety of your household. 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 necessitate annual system maintenance to keep valid, so missing your tune-ups can sometimes result in losing your heating or AC system warranty, which can be major money if your system does ever malfunction in the middle of a cold snap. Always get all you can from your warranty by ensuring it’s valid as long as possible with yearly 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 lead to a number of comfort issues for homeowners, including:

    • Running
    • Restricted airflow
    • Reduced efficiency
    • Bigger energy bills

If you pull out your home’s air filter, hold it up to a light. If you can’t see light coming through it, it’s probably been a while since your last heating service, and likely time to get a new one. 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 replaced. Check the filter packaging to see how long the new air filter is supposed to be used.

2. Double check your thermostat. 

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

3. Open up your air vents. 

There’s a common misconception that you can save money by shutting the vents (supply registers) in rooms that aren’t being utilized. Resist the urge to close them all, as doing so can actually increase the pressure in your furnace, making it work harder to heat your home. This can result in broken blower motors, mold or mildew in your ductwork, damage to the compressor, a burst 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. An experienced service technician should be able to identify any concerns or signs of excessive wear during this review.
    • Lubrication. Mechanical equipment needs lubrication to reduce friction between the functioning parts. Your furnace tune-up should include a complete lubrication.
    • Pilot and gas pressure evaluation. As part of your tune-up, changes may be made to the pilot and gas pressure when needed to return these elements to their original specifications.
    • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a normal 1” filter replacement with your service. Many furnace filters need to be swapped out at least every 90 days, which can enhance efficiency and prevent operational glitches.
    • Written assessment. Professional HVAC companies should give you their analysis in writing or on the receipt with your tune-up, including their professional maintenance proposal for the next 12 months. This valuable information can help you figure out the current condition of your furnace and how you can lower your energy bills.

 4. Does the Furnace Have Electricity? 

Shift the thermostat to “on” from “auto” to force the fan to function. If the fan does come on, power is working right, but if it doesn’t, your furnace might not be receiving power.

5. Is the Furnace Switch Operating Properly? 

Each furnace has a power switch (similar to a light switch) either on the furnace or located on a wall close to the furnace. Flip the switch and wait a couple of minutes to see if it helps to turn the furnace on. Also confirm that 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 furnace vents out the side of the house, check to see if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Make sure the surrounding region doesn’t have 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 routine professional tune-ups can virtually eliminate these factors. During your tune-up, your expert technician will clean and check over your furnace, identifying areas of corrosion. 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 residence because your HVAC equipment will be distributing clean air through a clean air filter. Perhaps one of the best benefits you’ll enjoy following a fall furnace or AC tune-up is diminished utility bills. An overworked HVAC system must work more to heat and cool your home, while a furnace or air conditioner that has been professionally 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 a valuable investment with a limited lifetime. Depending on use, with proper 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 main reasons for early replacement HVAC systems ahead of end of average life expectancy.

If you’re wondering how much a furnace tune up costs, you can relax knowing it’s not going to cost a limb. Frequently 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 first visit Jack Frost makes this year 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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