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Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

Updated 2/27/19

A regular check-up for your furnace is about as exciting as it sounds. However, as we approach the frostier months, now is the smartest time to ensure your furnace is ready to provide you maximum comfort throughout the cold season.

Among the leading ways to stop your furnace from going on strike and make sure it runs efficiently 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 working efficiently. Plus, regular cleanings can help pinpoint going concerns 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 inspect all the various parts to ensure there aren’t any splits or leaks that could impact the safety of your family. 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 system maintenance to stay valid, so skipping your tune-ups can actually result in losing your furnace warranty, which can be major money if your system does ever stop working in the middle of extreme temperatures. Be sure to get all you can from your warranty by making sure it stays 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 forgotten, 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:

    • operating
    • Restricted airflow
    • Lower efficiency
    • Increased 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 swap it out. If it’s a simple disposable air filter, just get 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. Check the filter packaging to see how long the new air filter is supposed to be used.

2. Double check your thermostat. 

    • One of the most basic 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 changed your thermostat’s battery, now is the best time to do that.
    • When first going over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to make certain 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 boost your savings by shutting the vents (supply registers) in rooms that aren’t being used. 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 air ducts, damage to the compressor, a ruptured 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. 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 prevent friction between the moving parts. Your furnace 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 when needed to return these elements to the designed specifications.
    • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a common 1” filter replacement with your service. Many furnace filters need to be swapped out at least every third month, which can enhance efficiency and prevent operational complications.
    • 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 year. This valuable information can help you figure out the current condition of your furnace and how you can lower your energy bills.

 4. Does the Furnace Have Electricity? 

Change the thermostat to “on” from “auto” to force the fan to turn on. If the fan comes on, power is working properly, 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 (just like a light switch) either on the furnace or located on a wall close to the furnace. Flip the switch and wait a couple of minutes to see if the furnace starts working. 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 home has a furnace that vents out the side of the house, assess the situation to see if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Be sure the area 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 many factors, 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 virtually eliminate these factors. During your tune-up, your HVAC technician will clean and check over your unit, 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 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 largest benefits you’ll enjoy following a fall furnace or AC tune-up is decreased utility bills. An overworked HVAC system must work much harder to heat and cool your home, while a furnace or air conditioner that has been expertly tuned can take less energy to provide exceptional 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 perform between 8-18 years before you will need to replace the old one. However, poor maintenance is one of the main 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 relax knowing it’s not going to force an early withdrawal you’re your 401k. 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 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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