Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

Updated 2/27/19

A regular 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 make sure 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 any mechanical equipment, the working life of a furnace will be enhanced with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are working 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. Also, because furnaces burn fuel to provide the heat, it’s important to examine all the various pieces to ensure there aren’t any cracks 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 call for yearly equipment maintenance to stay 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 stop working 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 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 overlooked, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Dirty air filters can mean a number of comfort problems for homeowners, including:

    • working
    • Restricted airflow
    • Lower efficiency
    • Increased 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 replace it. 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. Refer to the filter packaging to see how long the new air filter is intended to be used.

2. Double check your thermostat. 

    • One of the simplest tasks that homeowners can do is check 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 swapped out your thermostat’s battery, now is the perfect time to do so.
    • When first switching over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to ensure 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 save money by shutting the vents (supply registers) in rooms that aren’t being used. 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 result in busted 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 review to check all the working parts of your furnace and duct system. This is the best method for the technician to notify you of any components that are beginning to show signs of wear.
    • Lubrication. Mechanical equipment needs lubrication to prevent friction between the functioning parts. Your system tune-up should include a complete lubrication.
    • Pilot and gas pressure regulating. As part of your tune-up, changes may be made to the pilot and gas pressure when needed to restore these elements to the designed specifications.
    • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a common 1” filter replacement with your service. Most furnace filters need to be swapped out at least every third month, which can enhance efficiency and prevent operational problems.
    • Written assessment. Quality HVAC companies always will 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 important information can help you establish the current condition of your furnace and how you can lower your energy bills.

 4. Is your Furnace Receiving Electricity? 

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

5. Is the Furnace Switch Operating Properly? 

Every furnace includes a power switch (that resembles a light switch) either on the furnace or on a wall close by. Flip the switch and wait a few 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 every day. If the drain lines are clogged with dirt and debris, the furnace will shut down.

7. Examine 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 space 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 several reasons, including dust and dirt, natural wear and tear, and buildup in drains or on burners. Keeping your heating system maintained with annual professional tune-ups can help to reduce these factors. During your tune-up, your HVAC technician will clean and check over your heating equipment, identifying areas of wear and tear. They can identify failing parts in need of replacement before they become a serious problem. A tune-up alone will sometimes 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 lower utility bills. A neglected HVAC system must work overtime to heat and cool your home, while a furnace or air conditioner that has been finely tuned can take less energy to maintain 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 install a new one. However, poor maintenance is one of the primary reasons for earlier replacement HVAC systems before 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. 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 isn’t working. 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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