In Southern Arizona, we tend to not think about our furnaces. However, now is the ideal time to ensure your furnace is ready to go on that cold January night!
Among the leading ways to prevent a breakdown and make sure it runs efficiently is with a yearly scheduled furnace tune-up. Just like any mechanical equipment, the life of a furnace will be enhanced with preventive maintenance, by ensuring that all the elements of the unit are running efficiently.
In addition, 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 make it hot, it is important to inspect all the various components to ensure there aren’t any leaks that could impact the safety of your family.
Taking the time to schedule a tune-up, even when it is 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 require annual system maintenance to stay valid, so missing your tune-ups can possibly result in losing your heating or AC system warranty, which can be major money if your system does ever stop working. Be sure to get all you can from your warranty by keeping it valid as long as possible with yearly furnace system tune-ups from AIR4U.
Skipping that annual $70–$150-dollar maintenance visit might be tempting but resist that urge. Why? Because most AC manufacturers require homeowners to get their AC maintained (and keep a record of the maintenance visit) at least once a year—otherwise the AC warranty will become void.
And the worst part is that skipping AC maintenance makes you even more at risk of an expensive AC repair bill in the near future. You see, quality AC maintenance will catch and correct small AC problems before they become expensive repairs.
Pro Tip: Sign up for a Maintenance Plan! A maintenance plan (versus a single maintenance visit) gives you more “bang for your buck”.
Usually, these plans offer 2 AC maintenance visits/year, discounted repairs, discounted service calls, etc. in exchange for a low monthly fee. Plus, since you are already paying for the service, you’re much less likely to skip your yearly maintenance visit.
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. Dirty air filters can mean a host of comfort annoyances for homeowners, including:
- Adding Undo Stress on Your System
- 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 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 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 replaced. Check the filter packaging to see how long the new air filter is designed to be used.
2. Double Check your Thermostat
One of the easiest 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 changed your thermostat’s battery, now is the ideal time to do so. When first switching over to your heat setting, turn your thermostat up a few extra degrees to ensure that it is running as it should be and heating your home’s air.
3. Open 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 utilized. 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 failed blower motors, mold or mildew in your ductwork, damage to the compressor, a cracked heat exchanger, and other problems. What Does a Furnace Tune-Up Include?
- Full Inspection: The service should include a full visual and point inspection 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 eliminate friction between the operating parts. Your furnace tune-up should include a complete lubrication.
- Pilot and Gas Pressure Evaluation: As part of your tune-up, adjustments should be made to the pilot and gas pressure as needed to restore these elements to the designed specifications.
- Filter Replacement: A comprehensive furnace tune-up should include a standard 1” filter replacement with your service. Most furnace filters need to be changed at least every third month, which can enhance efficiency and prevent operational complications.
- Written Assessment: Professional 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 coming year. 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 comes on, power is working right, but if it doesn’t, your furnace could be lacking power.
5. Is the Furnace Switch Operating Properly?
Each furnace has a power switch (similar to a light switch) either on the furnace or on a nearby wall. Flip the switch and wait a few minutes to see if it helps to turn the furnace on. 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 every day. If the drain lines are clogged with dirt and debris, 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. Make sure space doesn’t have leaves, animal nests, or snow/ice.
What Should You Expect After a Furnace Tune-Up?
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 regular professional tune-ups can virtually eliminate these factors. During your tune-up, your HVAC technician will:
- Clean and check over your heating equipment, identifying areas of corrosion.
- 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 residence 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. A neglected HVAC system must work overtime to heat and cool your home, while a furnace or air conditioner that has been finely tuned can take less energy to maintain indoor comfort.
Because your heating system functions more efficiently, it will deliver superior heating at lower cost than you otherwise may have had through the winter season.