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Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

Updated 2/27/19

A scheduled 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 cold season.

Among the leading ways to prevent a breakdown and make sure it runs like a lean machine is with yearly scheduled tune-ups on your furnace. Just like most mechanical equipment, the working life of a furnace will be prolonged with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are running efficiently. In addition, regular cleanings can help pinpoint issues before they become big problems and you end up breaking into your piggybank for emergency rates on a cold winter night. Plus, because furnaces burn fuel to heat things up, it’s important to inspect all the various parts to ensure there aren’t any splits 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 my furnace serviced?

Most manufacturers’ warranties require yearly equipment maintenance to remain valid, so neglecting your tune-ups can possibly result in losing your heating system warranty, which can be major money if your equipment does ever breakdown 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 annual 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 forgotten, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Dusty air filters can mean a number of comfort annoyances for homeowners, including:

    • operating
    • Restricted airflow
    • Lower 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 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 most basic tasks that homeowners can do is keep an eye on the thermostat.
    • Ensure 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 ideal 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 operating 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 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 failed blower motors, mold or mildew in your ducts, damage to the compressor, a burst heat exchanger, and other problems.

    • Full inspection. The service should include a full visual and point examination 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 prevent friction between the operating parts. Your equipment tune-up should include a complete lubrication.
    • Pilot and gas pressure evaluation. As part of your tune-up, corrections may be made to the pilot and gas pressure if needed to restore these elements to the designed specifications.
    • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a standard 1” filter replacement with your service. Typically, furnace filters need to be changed at least every 90 days, which can enhance efficiency and prevent operational problems.
    • 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 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. Is your Furnace Receiving Electricity? 

Change the thermostat to “on” from “auto” to force the fan to turn on. If the fan comes on, power is working correctly, 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 located on a wall close to the furnace. Flip the switch and wait a few minutes to see if it turns 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 each day. If the drain lines aren’t clear and open, the furnace will shut down.

7. Assess Vents for Blockage 

If your furnace vents out the side of the house, assess the situation to see if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Be 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 several reasons, 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 help to reduce these factors. During your tune-up, your HVAC 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 house because your HVAC unit will be distributing clean air through a clean air filter. Perhaps one of the greatest 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 professionally tuned can take less energy to guarantee indoor comfort. Because your heating system operates more efficiently, it will deliver superior heating at lower cost than you otherwise may have had during the coldest months of the year.

A Longer-Lasting HVAC System 

Your HVAC system is a valuable investment with a limited lifetime. Depending on use, with professional 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 primary reasons for early 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 cost a limb. Sometimes we have special offers in your local area that you can run wild with.

It’s best to take action now and be prepared than to regret it during the coldsnap of the century when your furnace gives up with a sad cough. 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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