Why Do You Need A Furnace Tune-Up?

Updated 2/27/19

A pre-emptive check-up for your furnace isn’t always top of mind or convenient. However, as we approach the colder months, now is the ideal time to make sure 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 as it should is with yearly scheduled tune-ups on your furnace. Just like most mechanical equipment, the useful life of a furnace will be prolonged with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are performing 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. Plus, because furnaces burn fuel to provide the heat, it’s important to examine all the various pieces to ensure there aren’t any splits or leaks that could impact the safety of your family. Taking the time to schedule a tune-up, even when it’s not making that odd rattling noise you’ve been ignoring, 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 yearly system maintenance to stay valid, so missing your tune-ups can sometimes result in losing your furnace warranty, which can be major money if your furnace does ever malfunction in the middle of winter. 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 overlooked, but their importance to your home’s furnace efficiency cannot be overstated. Filthy air filters can cause a number of comfort problems for homeowners, including: 

  • working 
  • Restricted airflow 
  • Lower 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 probably 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 swapped out. Check the filter packaging to see how long the new air filter is supposed to be used. 
 
2. Double check your thermostat. 

  • One of the easiest 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 replaced your thermostat’s battery, now is the perfect time to do that. 
  • When first switching over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to make certain that it is operating properly and heating your home’s air. 

3. Open up your air vents. 
 
There’s a common misconception that you can boost your savings 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 ductwork, damage to the compressor, a cracked 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. 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 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, changes may be made to the pilot and gas pressure as needed to reestablish these elements to the designed specifications. 
  • Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a common 1” filter replacement with your service. Typically, furnace filters need to be replaced at least every third month, which can boost 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 recommendations for the coming year. This valuable information can help you determine 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 function. If the fan turns on, power is working properly, 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 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. Check Vents for Blockage 

If your furnace vents out the side of the house, assess the situation to see if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Confirm the surrounding region 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 many factors, 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 expert technician will clean and check over your unit, identifying areas of wear and tear. They can identify failing parts in need of replacement before they become a serious problem. A tune-up alone could 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 best benefits you’ll enjoy following a fall furnace or AC tune-up is decreased utility bills. A poorly-maintained 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 provide exceptional 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 important appliance with a limited lifetime. Depending on use, with proper maintenance you can expect your furnace and air conditioner to last 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 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 break the bank. Sometimes 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 gives up with a sad cough. 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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