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 colder months, now is the ideal time to make sure 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 like a lean machine is with yearly scheduled tune-ups on your furnace. Just like all mechanical equipment, the useful life of a furnace will be extended with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are performing efficiently. In addition, regular cleanings can help pinpoint going concerns before they become big problems and you end up paying emergency rates on a cold winter night. Additionally, because furnaces burn fuel to make it hot, it’s important to inspect all the various pieces 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 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 routine system maintenance to remain valid, so skipping your tune-ups can actually result in losing your heating or AC system warranty, which can be major money if your furnace 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 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 overlooked, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Dusty air filters can cause a variety of comfort annoyances for homeowners, including: 

  • Running 
  • Restricted airflow 
  • Lower efficiency 
  • Higher 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 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 changed. Refer to 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
  • Ensure 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 best time to do that. 
  • When first moving over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to ensure that it is running correctly 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 too many, 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 air ducts, damage to the compressor, a ruptured 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. 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 reduce 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 as needed to restore these elements to manufacturer specifications. 
  • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a common 1” filter replacement with your service. Many furnace filters need to be changed at least every three months, which can enhance efficiency and prevent operational glitches. 
  • Written assessment. Professional 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 coming year. This valuable information can help you determine the current condition of your furnace and what can be done to lower your energy bills. 

 4. Is the Furnace Getting Electricity? 

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

5. Is the Furnace Switch Working Properly? 

All furnaces have a power switch (similar to a light switch) either on the furnace or on a nearby wall. Flip the switch and wait two 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 on a daily basis. If the drain lines aren’t clear and open, the furnace will shut down. 

7. Assess Vents for Blockage 

If you have 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 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 regular professional tune-ups can control these factors. During your tune-up, your HVAC technician will clean and check over your heating equipment, identifying areas of concern. 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 residence because your HVAC system 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 neglected HVAC system must work much harder to heat and cool your home, while a furnace or air conditioner that has been professionally tuned can take less energy to maintain indoor comfort. Because your heating system will function 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 an expensive investment with a limited lifetime. Depending on use, with proper maintenance you can expect your furnace and air conditioner to perform between 8-18 years before you will need to install a new one. 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 breathe a healthy sigh of relief knowing it’s not going to break the bank. 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 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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