Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

February 16, 2015

Updated 2/27/19 
 
A scheduled 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 best time to make sure your furnace is ready to provide you maximum comfort throughout the winter months.

Among the leading ways to reduce furnace breakdowns and make sure it runs as it should is with yearly scheduled tune-ups on your furnace. Just like all mechanical equipment, the working 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 going concerns before they become big problems and you end up paying emergency rates on a cold winter night. Also, because furnaces burn fuel to provide the heat, it’s important to examine all the various parts 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 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 necessitate routine HVAC maintenance to remain valid, so skipping your tune-ups can actually result in losing your furnace warranty, which can be major money if your furnace does ever stop working in the middle of a cold snap. Always get all you can from your warranty by ensuring it’s valid as long as possible with annual furnace system tune-ups from McKinley Heating Service Experts.
  
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 lead to a host of comfort annoyances for homeowners, including:
  • working
  • Restricted airflow
  • Decreased efficiency
  • Increased 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 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 replaced. Refer to the filter packaging to see how long the new air filter is supposed to be used.

2. Double check your thermostat.
  • One of the simplest tasks that homeowners can do is check the thermostat.
  • Make sure 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 replaced your thermostat’s battery, now is the perfect time to do it.
  • When first going over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to ensure that it is operating 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 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 cause failed blower motors, mold or mildew in your ducts, damage to the compressor, a ruptured heat exchanger, and other problems. What Does a Furnace Tune-Up Include?
  • Full inspection. The service should include a full visual and point inspection 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 operating parts. Your equipment tune-up should include a complete lubrication.
  • Pilot and gas pressure regulating. As part of your tune-up, adjustments should be made to the pilot and gas pressure if needed to restore these elements to manufacturer specifications.
  • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a common 1” filter replacement with your service. Many furnace filters need to be changed at least every third month, which can boost efficiency and prevent operational glitches.
  • Written assessment. Quality 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 establish the current condition of your furnace and what can be done to lower your energy bills.

4. Does the Furnace Have Electricity?

Change the thermostat to “on” from “auto” to force the fan to function. If the fan comes on, power is working right, but if it doesn’t, your furnace may not be getting power.

5. Is the Furnace Switch Functioning Properly?


All furnaces have a power switch (similar to 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 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 every 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, examine if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Make sure the area 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 annual professional tune-ups can virtually eliminate these factors. During your tune-up, your HVAC 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 serious 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 equipment 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 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 professionally tuned can take less energy to guarantee indoor comfort. Because your heating system operates 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 professional 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 main reasons for earlier replacement HVAC systems ahead of 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 force an early withdrawal you’re your 401k. Often 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 middle of winter 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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