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 season. 
 
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 any mechanical equipment, the life of a furnace will be extended 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 paying emergency rates on a cold winter night. Additionally, because furnaces burn fuel to provide the heat, it’s important to take a look at all the various components 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 require annual equipment maintenance to remain valid, so skipping your tune-ups can possibly result in losing your heating or AC system warranty, which can be major money if your system does ever breakdown in the middle of winter. Make sure you get all you can from your warranty by keeping it 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. Dirty air filters can cause a number of comfort problems for homeowners, including: 

  • Running 
  • Restricted airflow 
  • Reduced efficiency 
  • Higher 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 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 designed 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 changed 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 make sure that it is working properly 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 too many, as doing so can actually increase the pressure in your furnace, making it work harder to heat your home. This can lead to failed blower motors, mold or mildew in your ducts, damage to the compressor, a cracked 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. 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 reduce friction between the moving parts. Your furnace tune-up should include a complete lubrication. 
  • Pilot and gas pressure regulating. As part of your tune-up, corrections may be made to the pilot and gas pressure if needed to return these elements to the designed specifications. 
  • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a normal 1” filter replacement with your service. Many furnace filters need to be changed at least every three months, which can boost efficiency and prevent operational glitches. 
  • Written assessment. Quality HVAC companies should give you their analysis in writing or on the receipt with your tune-up, including their professional maintenance suggestions for the next year. This important information can help you establish 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 operate. If the fan comes on, power is working properly, but if it doesn’t, your furnace may not be getting power. 

5. Is the Furnace Switch Working Properly? 

All furnaces have a power switch (that resembles a light switch) either on the furnace or on a nearby wall. Flip the switch and wait a couple of 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 drain lines get clogged, the furnace will shut down. 

7. Check 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 area is clear of 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 wear and tear. They can identify failing parts in need of replacement before they become a bigger problem. A tune-up alone may 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 greatest benefits you’ll enjoy following a fall furnace or AC tune-up is lower utility bills. A poorly-maintained 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 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 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 rest easy knowing it’s not going to break the bank. Sometimes we have special offers in your local area that you can take advantage of. 
 
It’s better 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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