Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

Updated 2/27/19

A scheduled check-up for your furnace is probably at the bottom of your to-do list. However, as we approach the frostier months, now is the ideal time to ensure your furnace is ready to provide you maximum comfort throughout the 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 useful life of a furnace will be extended with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are working efficiently. Plus, regular cleanings can help pinpoint issues before they become big problems and you end up cashing out for emergency rates on a cold winter night. Additionally, because furnaces burn fuel to heat things up, it’s important to examine all the various pieces 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 when it’s not making that odd rattling noise you’ve been ignoring, 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 necessitate routine HVAC maintenance to stay valid, so neglecting your tune-ups can actually result in losing your heating or AC system warranty, which can be major money if your system does ever breakdown in the middle of extreme temperatures. Always 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 written off, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Filthy air filters can lead to a host of comfort issues for homeowners, including:

    • operating
    • Restricted airflow
    • Decreased 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 most likely 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. Check 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 take a look at the thermostat.
    • Make sure 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 ideal time to do it.
    • When first going over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to make certain 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 utilized. Resist the urge to close them all, as doing so can actually increase the pressure in your furnace, making it work harder to heat your home. This can lead to broken blower motors, mold or mildew in your ductwork, damage to the compressor, a ruptured heat exchanger, and other problems.

    • Full inspection. The service should include a full visual and point inspection 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 functioning parts. Your system 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 their original specifications.
    • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a normal 1” filter replacement with your service. Most furnace filters need to be swapped out at least every third month, 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 recommendations for the coming year. This important information can help you establish the current condition of your furnace and outline ways to lower your energy bills.

 4. Does the Furnace Have Electricity? 

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

5. Is the Furnace Switch Working Properly? 

Every furnace includes a power switch (that resembles 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 confirm that 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 are clogged with dirt and debris, 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. 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 a variety of issues, 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 expert 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 bigger problem. A tune-up alone may 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 decreased 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 operates more efficiently, it will deliver superior heating at lower cost than you otherwise may have had during the coming months.

A Longer-Lasting HVAC System 

Your HVAC system is an expensive 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 main reasons for premature replacement HVAC systems prior to 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 break the bank. Frequently we have special offers in your local area that you can use to justify your next Starbucks run.

It’s best to take action now and be prepared than to regret it during the first visit Jack Frost makes this year 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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