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 make sure your furnace is ready to provide you maximum comfort throughout the cold season. 
 
Among the leading ways to prevent a breakdown and make sure it runs like a lean machine is with yearly scheduled tune-ups on your furnace. Just like most mechanical equipment, the working life of a furnace will be extended with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are performing efficiently. In addition, regular cleanings can help pinpoint issues before they become big problems and you end up breaking into your piggybank for emergency rates on a cold winter night. Additionally, because furnaces burn fuel to heat things up, it’s important to examine all the various pieces to ensure there aren’t any ruptures or leaks that could impact the safety of your household. 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 routine system maintenance to remain valid, so missing your tune-ups can sometimes result in losing your furnace warranty, which can be major money if your system does ever malfunction in the middle of a cold snap. Be sure to get all you can from your warranty by ensuring it’s valid as long as possible with routine furnace system tune-ups from Stallion Heating and Air Conditioning. 

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 written off, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Filthy air filters can mean a host of comfort problems for homeowners, including: 

  • Running 
  • 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 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. 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 most basic tasks that homeowners can do is take a look at 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 changed 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 working 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 used. 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 busted blower motors, mold or mildew in your ducts, damage to the compressor, a ruptured heat exchanger, and other problems. 

  • Full inspection. The service should include a full visual and point inspection 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 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 the designed specifications. 
  • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a standard 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 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 proposal for the coming year. This insightful information can help you establish the current condition of your furnace and outline ways to lower your energy bills. 

 4. Is your Furnace Receiving Electricity? 

Shift the thermostat to “on” from “auto” to force the fan to turn on. If the fan does come on, power is working properly, but if it doesn’t, your furnace might not be receiving power. 

5. Is the Furnace Switch Operating Properly? 

All furnaces have 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 two minutes to see if it turns 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 on a daily basis. If the drain lines aren’t clear and open, the furnace will shut down. 

7. Assess Vents for Blockage 

If you have a furnace that vents out the side of the house, check to see if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Confirm 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 a variety of issues, 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 virtually eliminate these factors. During your tune-up, your maintenance technician will clean and check over your heating equipment, identifying areas of corrosion. They can identify failing parts in need of replacement before they become a larger problem. A tune-up alone may instantly improve energy efficiency by up to 30%. You’ll also enjoy cleaner air and a cleaner house because your HVAC unit 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 lower utility bills. A neglected HVAC system must work more to heat and cool your home, while a furnace or air conditioner that has been expertly tuned can take less energy to guarantee indoor comfort. Because your heating system functions 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 proper 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 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 relax 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 best to take action now and be prepared than to regret it during the first visit Jack Frost makes this year when your furnace takes a dive. 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 215-259-5850 or schedule an appointment online

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