Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

Updated 2/27/19

A pre-emptive check-up for your furnace is probably at the bottom of your to-do list. However, as we approach the colder months, now is the ideal time to guarantee 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 efficiently is with yearly scheduled tune-ups on your furnace. Just like all mechanical equipment, the life of a furnace will be enhanced with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are running efficiently. Also, 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. Plus, because furnaces burn fuel to heat things up, 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 family. 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 require annual HVAC maintenance to stay valid, so neglecting your tune-ups can sometimes result in losing your furnace warranty, which can be major money if your furnace does ever malfunction in the middle of extreme temperatures. Make sure you get all you can from your warranty by making sure it stays valid as long as possible with yearly 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 annoyances for homeowners, including: 

  • working 
  • Restricted airflow 
  • Decreased efficiency 
  • Bigger energy bills 

If you take out your home’s air filter, hold it up to a light. If you can’t see light coming through it, it’s more than 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 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. Read 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 check the thermostat
  • Make certain it is set to Heat and not Cool, and that the temperature setting is greater than the current indoor temperature. 
  • If you can’t remember the last time you swapped out your thermostat’s battery, now is the ideal time to do that. 
  • When first going over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to make sure 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 too many, as doing so can actually increase the pressure in your furnace, making it work harder to heat your home. This can cause busted blower motors, mold or mildew in your air 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 eliminate friction between the functioning parts. Your equipment 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 reestablish these elements to their original specifications. 
  • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a common 1” filter replacement with your service. Most furnace filters need to be replaced at least every three months, which can improve efficiency and prevent operational complications. 
  • Written assessment. Professional HVAC companies always will give you their analysis in writing or on the receipt with your tune-up, including their professional maintenance suggestions for the next 12 months. This insightful information can help you figure out the current condition of your furnace and what can be done to lower your energy bills. 

 4. Is the Furnace Getting Electricity? 

Change 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 could be lacking power. 

5. Is the Furnace Switch Operating Properly? 

Each furnace has 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 few minutes to see if it turns the furnace on. Also check to see if 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. Examine Vents for Blockage 

If your furnace vents out the side of the house, examine if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Make 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 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 expert 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 will sometimes 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 greatest benefits you’ll enjoy following a fall furnace or AC tune-up is diminished utility bills. A poorly-maintained 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 provide exceptional indoor comfort. Because your heating system will function more efficiently, it will deliver superior heating at lower cost than you otherwise may have had through the winter season. 
 
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 consider replacement. However, poor maintenance is one of the primary 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 cost a limb. Frequently we have special offers in your local area that you can run wild with. 
 
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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