Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

Updated 2/27/19

A scheduled check-up for your furnace isn’t always top of mind or convenient. However, as we approach the colder months, now is the best time to ensure your furnace is ready to provide you maximum comfort throughout the winter months. 
 
Among the leading ways to prevent a breakdown and make sure it runs as it should is with yearly scheduled tune-ups on your furnace. Just like any mechanical equipment, the useful life of a furnace will be prolonged with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are running efficiently. Plus, regular cleanings can help pinpoint issues before they become big problems and you end up cashing out for emergency rates on a cold winter night. Additionally, because furnaces burn fuel to heat things up, it’s important to take a look at all the various pieces to ensure there aren’t any cracks or leaks that could impact the safety of your family. 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 require annual equipment maintenance to keep valid, so neglecting your tune-ups can sometimes result in losing your furnace warranty, which can be major money if your furnace does ever breakdown in the middle of extreme temperatures. Always get all you can from your warranty by making sure it stays valid as long as possible with routine furnace system tune-ups from Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. 

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 overlooked, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Dirty air filters can cause a number of comfort annoyances for homeowners, including: 

  • working 
  • Restricted airflow 
  • Decreased efficiency 
  • Bigger energy bills 

If you pull 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 get 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
  • 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 swapped out your thermostat’s battery, now is the best time to do so. 
  • When first moving over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to make sure that it is running 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 them all, 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 air ducts, damage to the compressor, a burst 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 reduce friction between the operating parts. Your system tune-up should include a complete lubrication. 
  • Pilot and gas pressure adjustment. As part of your tune-up, corrections may be made to the pilot and gas pressure when needed to restore these elements to their original specifications. 
  • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a standard 1” filter replacement with your service. Typically, furnace filters need to be replaced at least every 90 days, which can improve efficiency and prevent operational complications. 
  • 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 proposal for the next 12 months. This valuable information can help you figure out the current condition of your furnace and outline ways to lower your energy bills. 

 4. Is your Furnace Receiving Electricity? 

Switch the thermostat to “on” from “auto” to force the fan to turn on. If the fan comes on, power is working properly, 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 (that resembles a light switch) either on the furnace or on a nearby wall. Flip the switch and wait a couple of minutes to see if it helps to turn 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 each day. If the drain lines aren’t clear and open, the furnace will shut down. 

7. Examine 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. Make sure the area 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 many factors, 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 control these factors. During your tune-up, your expert technician will clean and check over your unit, identifying areas of corrosion. 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 residence because your HVAC system will be distributing clean air through a clean air filter. Perhaps one of the best benefits you’ll enjoy following a fall furnace or AC tune-up is lower utility bills. An overworked 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 will function 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 a valuable investment with a limited lifetime. Depending on use, with professional maintenance you can expect your furnace and air conditioner to run between 8-18 years before you will need to install a new one. However, poor maintenance is one of the top 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 rest easy knowing it’s not going to break the bank. Frequently we have special offers in your local area that you can use to justify your next Starbucks run. 
 
It’s better 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 866-397-3787 or schedule an appointment online

  • How to Choose a Suitable HVAC System

    When it comes to keeping your home comfortable year-round, nothing is more essential than picking out the right heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This decision affects your daily comfort, monthly utility bills and overall home efficiency. Then again, with so many system... Continue reading

  • Year-End HVAC Maintenance Checklist

    Now that the air turns chilly, you know it’s time to get your home ready for the cooler months ahead. Your heating system is critical to maintaining a cozy, warm setting. A well-maintained furnace supplies the comfort you want while using a smaller amount of energy. Regular inspections also make... Continue reading

  • 2024 Furnace and Air Conditioning Trends

    In the ever-evolving world of home HVAC, keeping up with the latest HVAC trends is crucial for homeowners who want to enhance their home’s comfort and efficiency. As we move into 2024, the HVAC industry continues to innovate, bringing new technologies and trends aimed at changing how residents... Continue reading