Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

Updated 2/27/19

A pre-emptive check-up for your furnace isn’t always top of mind or convenient. However, as we approach the less-popular winter 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 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 prolonged with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are running efficiently. Also, regular cleanings can help pinpoint concerns 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 make it hot, it’s important to examine all the various components to ensure there aren’t any ruptures 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 call for annual system maintenance to keep valid, so skipping your tune-ups can sometimes result in losing your heating system warranty, which can be major money if your system does ever stop working in the middle of winter. Always 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 forgotten, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Filthy air filters can cause a number of comfort annoyances for homeowners, including: 

  • working 
  • Restricted airflow 
  • Reduced 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 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 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 swapped out. Refer to the filter packaging to see how long the new air filter is intended to be used. 
 
2. Double check your thermostat. 

  • One of the easiest tasks that homeowners can do is check 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 moving over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to make certain that it is running 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 utilized. Resist the urge to close all of them, as doing so can actually increase the pressure in your furnace, making it work harder to heat your home. This can lead to busted blower motors, mold or mildew in your ductwork, 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. 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 operating 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 if needed to return these elements to manufacturer specifications. 
  • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a common 1” filter replacement with your service. Typically, furnace filters need to be changed at least every 90 days, which can improve efficiency and prevent operational glitches. 
  • Written assessment. Quality HVAC companies will also give you their analysis in writing or on the receipt with your tune-up, including their professional maintenance suggestions for the coming year. This important information can help you figure out the current condition of your furnace and how you can lower your energy bills. 

 4. Is your Furnace Receiving Electricity? 

Change the thermostat to “on” from “auto” to force the fan to operate. If the fan comes on, power is working correctly, but if it doesn’t, your furnace could be lacking power. 

5. Is the Furnace Switch Operating Properly? 

Each furnace has a power switch (that resembles a light switch) either on the furnace or on a wall close by. Flip the switch and wait a couple of minutes to see if the furnace starts working. 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. Check Vents for Blockage 

If you have a furnace that vents out the side of the house, assess the situation 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 routine professional tune-ups can help to reduce these factors. During your tune-up, your HVAC technician will clean and check over your furnace, identifying areas of concern. 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 residence because your HVAC equipment 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 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 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 professional maintenance you can expect your furnace and air conditioner to last between 8-18 years before you will need to install a new one. However, poor maintenance is one of the top reasons for early replacement HVAC systems before 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. Sometimes we have special offers in your local area that you can take advantage of. 
 
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 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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