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 colder months, now is the best time to make sure 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 any 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. Also, regular cleanings can help pinpoint concerns before they become big problems and you end up paying emergency rates on a cold winter night. Additionally, because furnaces burn fuel to provide the heat, it’s important to inspect all the various parts to ensure there aren’t any splits 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 require routine HVAC maintenance to remain 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 a cold snap. Be sure to get all you can from your warranty by ensuring it’s valid as long as possible with yearly 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. Dusty air filters can cause a variety of comfort problems for homeowners, including:

    • Running
    • Restricted airflow
    • Decreased 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 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 changed. Refer to the filter packaging to see how long the new air filter is designed 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 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 operating as it should be 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 too many, as doing so can actually increase the pressure in your furnace, making it work harder to heat your home. This can lead to broken blower motors, mold or mildew in your air ducts, damage to the compressor, a burst 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. An experienced service technician should be able to identify any concerns or signs of excessive wear during this review.
    • Lubrication. Mechanical equipment needs lubrication to eliminate friction between the moving parts. Your equipment tune-up should include a complete lubrication.
    • Pilot and gas pressure adjustment. As part of your tune-up, adjustments should be made to the pilot and gas pressure when needed to return these elements to OEM specifications.
    • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a standard 1” filter replacement with your service. Typically, furnace filters need to be changed at least every three months, which can enhance efficiency and prevent operational glitches.
    • Written assessment. Credible 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 insightful information can help you determine the current condition of your furnace and outline ways to lower your energy bills.

 4. Is the Furnace Getting Electricity? 

Switch the thermostat to “on” from “auto” to force the fan to function. 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 Operating Properly? 

Every furnace includes a power switch (just like 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 it turns the furnace on. 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 on a daily basis. If the drain lines aren’t clear and open, the furnace will shut down.

7. Examine 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 isn’t obstructed by 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 virtually eliminate these factors. During your tune-up, your HVAC technician will clean and check over your unit, 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 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 diminished utility bills. An overworked HVAC system must work much harder to heat and cool your home, while a furnace or air conditioner that has been finely 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 an important appliance 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 replace the old one. However, poor maintenance is one of the top reasons for premature replacement HVAC systems ahead of 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. Sometimes 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 middle of winter 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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