Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

Updated 2/27/19

A regular check-up for your furnace is probably at the bottom of your to-do list. However, as we approach the frostier months, now is the ideal 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 most mechanical equipment, the life of a furnace will be prolonged with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are performing efficiently. Plus, 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. Also, because furnaces burn fuel to provide the heat, it’s important to take a look at all the various parts to ensure there aren’t any cracks 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 routine system maintenance to remain valid, so skipping 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 winter. Always 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 written off, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Dusty air filters can lead to a number of comfort annoyances for homeowners, including: 

  • operating 
  • Restricted airflow 
  • Lower efficiency 
  • Higher 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 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 designed to be used. 
 
2. Double check your thermostat. 

  • One of the most basic tasks that homeowners can do is check the thermostat
  • Make certain 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 best time to do that. 
  • When first going over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to make certain 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 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 result in failed blower motors, mold or mildew in your ductwork, 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. 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 prevent friction between the functioning parts. Your system 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 when needed to restore 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 replaced at least every third month, which can enhance efficiency and prevent operational complications. 
  • Written assessment. Credible 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 important 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? 

Shift 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 might not be receiving power. 

5. Is the Furnace Switch Functioning Properly? 

Every furnace includes 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 a few minutes to see if the furnace starts working. 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. Check Vents for Blockage 

If your furnace vents out the side of the house, check to see if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Confirm the surrounding region 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 regular professional tune-ups can virtually eliminate these factors. During your tune-up, your maintenance 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 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 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 finely 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 during the coming months. 
 
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 replace the old one. However, poor maintenance is one of the primary reasons for early replacement HVAC systems ahead of 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 cost a limb. 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 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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