Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune- Up?

February 16, 2015

Updated 2/27/19 
 
A pre-emptive check-up for your furnace isn’t always top of mind or convenient. However, as we approach the less-popular winter months, now is the best time to ensure your furnace is ready to provide you maximum comfort throughout the winter months.

Among the leading ways to reduce furnace breakdowns 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 prolonged with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are working 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 heat things up, it’s important to take a look at all the various components to ensure there aren’t any ruptures or leaks that could impact the safety of your home. Taking the time to schedule a tune-up, even if it looks like it’s working just fine, will save you time, stress, and money throughout the heating season.

Is it true my warranty is voided if I don’t get tune ups?


Most manufacturers’ warranties require routine equipment maintenance to remain valid, so skipping your tune-ups can sometimes result in losing your heating system warranty, which can be major money if your furnace does ever malfunction in the middle of a cold snap. Make sure you get all you can from your warranty by ensuring it’s valid as long as possible with annual furnace system tune-ups from McElroy Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning.
  
Furnace burners

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


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 forgotten, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Filthy air filters can mean a host of comfort problems for homeowners, including:
  • operating
  • Restricted airflow
  • Reduced efficiency
  • Bigger energy bills
If you remove 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 buy 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 swapped out. Read the filter packaging to see how long the new air filter is designed to be used.

2. Double check your thermostat.
  • One of the simplest 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 that.
  • When first moving over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to make sure that it is working as it should be and heating your home’s air.
3. Open up your air vents.

There’s a common misconception that you can increase your savings by shutting the vents (supply registers) in rooms that aren’t being occupied. Resist the urge to close all of them, 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 ducts, damage to the compressor, a burst heat exchanger, and other problems. What Does a Furnace Tune-Up Include?
  • Full inspection. The service should include a full visual and point review 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 prevent friction between the moving parts. Your system tune-up should include a complete lubrication.
  • Pilot and gas pressure adjustment. As part of your tune-up, adjustments should be made to the pilot and gas pressure when needed to restore these elements to OEM specifications.
  • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a standard 1” filter replacement with your service. Typically, furnace filters need to be replaced at least every three months, which can boost efficiency and prevent operational complications.
  • Written assessment. Credible HVAC companies will also give you their analysis in writing or on the receipt with your tune-up, including their professional maintenance suggestions for the next 12 months. This important information can help you establish the current condition of your furnace and what can be done to lower your energy bills.

4. Does the Furnace Have Electricity?

Switch the thermostat to “on” from “auto” to force the fan to turn on. If the fan turns on, power is working properly, but if it doesn’t, your furnace may not be getting power.

5. Is the Furnace Switch Functioning Properly?


All furnaces have a power switch (similar to a light switch) either on the furnace or on a wall close by. Flip the switch and wait a couple of minutes to see if it helps to turn the furnace on. Also make sure all access panels and doors on the furnace are completely closed.

6. Condensate Drainage


High-efficiency furnaces can drain off several gallons of water on a daily basis. 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, assess the situation to see if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Make sure the surrounding region isn’t obstructed by 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 corrosion. They can identify failing parts in need of replacement before they become a serious 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 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 lower utility bills. A poorly-maintained HVAC system must work more to heat and cool your home, while a furnace or air conditioner that has been finely tuned can take less energy to guarantee indoor comfort. Because your heating system functions 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 run between 8-18 years before you will need to replace the old one. However, poor maintenance is one of the main 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 breathe a healthy sigh of relief knowing it’s not going to force an early withdrawal you’re your 401k. Frequently we have special offers in your local area that you can run wild with.

It’s better to take action now and be prepared than to regret it during the coldsnap of the century 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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