A regular check-up for your furnace isn’t always top of mind or convenient. However, as we approach the frostier months, now is the smartest 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 efficiently is with yearly scheduled tune-ups on your furnace
. Just like most mechanical equipment, the working life of a furnace will be extended 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 call for annual system maintenance to keep valid, so missing your tune-ups can sometimes result in losing your heating system warranty, which can be major money if your system does ever malfunction in the middle of a cold snap. Be sure to get all you can from your warranty by keeping it valid as long as possible with routine furnace system tune-ups from Stark Services.
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 mean a variety of comfort issues for homeowners, including:
- Restricted airflow
- Decreased efficiency
- Higher 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 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 swapped out. Read the filter packaging to see how long the new air filter is supposed to be used. 2. Double check your thermostat.
3. Open up your air vents.
- One of the most basic tasks that homeowners can do is check the thermostat.
- Ensure it is set to Heat and not Cool, and that the temperature setting is above the current indoor temperature.
- If you can’t remember the last time you replaced your thermostat’s battery, now is the best time to do it.
- When first switching over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to make certain that it is running as it should be and heating your home’s air.
There’s a common misconception that you can boost 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 cause busted blower motors, mold or mildew in your air ducts, damage to the compressor, a cracked heat exchanger, and other problems.
4. Does the Furnace Have Electricity?
- Full inspection. The service should include a full visual and point review 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 reduce friction between the functioning parts. Your furnace 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 if needed to restore these elements to the designed specifications.
- Filter replacement. A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a common 1” filter replacement with your service. Many furnace filters need to be swapped out at least every third month, which can boost 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 proposal for the coming year. This insightful information can help you establish the current condition of your furnace and how you can lower your energy bills.
Switch the thermostat to “on” from “auto” to force the fan to turn on. If the fan turns on, power is working correctly, but if it doesn’t, your furnace could be lacking power.
5. Is the Furnace Switch Functioning Properly?
Each furnace has a power switch (that resembles a light switch) either on the furnace or located on a wall close to the furnace. Flip the switch and wait two minutes to see if it turns the furnace on. Also check to see if 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 home has a furnace that vents out the side of the house, examine if anything could be blocking the intake or exhaust. Confirm the space 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 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 help to reduce 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 larger 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 lower 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 provide exceptional 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 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 before 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 force an early withdrawal you’re your 401k. Often 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 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.