Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

Updated 2/27/19

A scheduled check-up for your furnace is about as exciting as it sounds. However, as we approach the frostier months, now is the best time to guarantee your furnace is ready to provide you maximum comfort throughout the cold season.

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 working efficiently. Plus, 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. Also, because furnaces burn fuel to heat things up, it’s important to inspect all the various parts 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 your system appears to be functioning properly, 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 equipment maintenance to remain valid, so missing your tune-ups can possibly result in losing your heating system warranty, which can be major money if your system does ever stop working in the middle of extreme temperatures. Be sure to get all you can from your warranty by ensuring it’s valid as long as possible with annual 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 forgotten, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Filthy air filters can cause a host of comfort annoyances for homeowners, including:

    • Running
    • Restricted airflow
    • Lower 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 changed. 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.
    • 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 ideal time to do that.
    • When first moving over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to make sure that it is running properly 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 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 lead to busted blower motors, mold or mildew in your air ducts, damage to the compressor, a cracked 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. 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 operating parts. Your furnace tune-up should include a complete lubrication.
    • Pilot and gas pressure evaluation. As part of your tune-up, corrections may be made to the pilot and gas pressure when needed to reestablish these elements to the designed specifications.
    • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a normal 1” filter replacement with your service. Many furnace filters need to be swapped out at least every three months, which can enhance efficiency and prevent operational glitches.
    • Written assessment. Professional HVAC companies should 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 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 does come on, power is working right, but if it doesn’t, your furnace might not be receiving 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 few 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 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, assess the situation to see if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Make sure the space is clear of 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 annual professional tune-ups can help to reduce these factors. During your tune-up, your maintenance 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 will sometimes 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 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 professionally tuned can take less energy to maintain 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 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 before end of average life expectancy.

If you’re wondering how much a furnace tune up costs, you can breathe a healthy sigh of relief knowing it’s not going to break the bank. Frequently we have special offers in your local area that you can run wild with.

It’s better to take action now and be prepared than to regret it during the first visit Jack Frost makes this year 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 215-259-5850 or schedule an appointment online.

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