Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

Updated 2/27/19

A pre-emptive 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 guarantee 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 like a lean machine is with yearly scheduled tune-ups on your furnace. Just like all mechanical equipment, the working 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 cashing out for emergency rates on a cold winter night. Plus, because furnaces burn fuel to provide the heat, it’s important to examine all the various parts 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 necessitate annual HVAC maintenance to keep valid, so skipping your tune-ups can possibly result in losing your heating system warranty, which can be major money if your furnace does ever breakdown in the middle of winter. Always get all you can from your warranty by keeping it 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 overlooked, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Filthy air filters can cause a variety of comfort issues 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 most likely 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. 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 easiest tasks that homeowners can do is keep an eye on 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 swapped out your thermostat’s battery, now is the best time to do so. 
  • When first going over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to ensure that it is running correctly 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 occupied. 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 cause broken blower motors, mold or mildew in your ductwork, 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 reduce friction between the moving parts. Your equipment tune-up should include a complete lubrication. 
  • Pilot and gas pressure evaluation. As part of your tune-up, adjustments should be made to the pilot and gas pressure as 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. Most furnace filters need to be changed at least every 90 days, which can enhance efficiency and prevent operational complications. 
  • Written assessment. Professional 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 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 turn on. 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 Functioning 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 helps to turn 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 the drain lines aren’t clear and open, the furnace will shut down. 

7. Examine Vents for Blockage 

If your home has a furnace that vents out the side of the house, examine if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Confirm 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 many factors, 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 control these factors. During your tune-up, your expert technician will clean and check over your furnace, identifying areas of corrosion. 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 largest benefits you’ll enjoy following a fall furnace or AC tune-up is decreased utility bills. An overworked HVAC system must work more to heat and cool your home, while a furnace or air conditioner that has been professionally tuned can take less energy to guarantee 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 professional maintenance you can expect your furnace and air conditioner to run between 8-18 years before you will need to consider replacement. However, poor maintenance is one of the main reasons for earlier 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. Frequently we have special offers in your local area that you can take advantage of. 
 
It’s preferable to take action now and be prepared than to regret it during the coldsnap of the century 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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