In order to keep your home warm and comfortable during the winter months, a furnace is a must. If your furnace isn’t working properly, you’ll definitely notice once the weather takes a turn, and there are several specific features of your furnace that might need some extra attention for different reasons.
When organizing your home maintenance tasks, furnaces can sometimes fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” category. However, furnaces can break down and malfunction without proper care and a malfunctioning furnace left unchecked could potentially lead to poor heating at best and a fire in your home at worst.
Making sure your furnace is working in tip-top shape is extremely important for safe and efficient home heating. This is why a yearly furnace tune-up is recommended for all homeowners.
What can I expect from a furnace tune-up?
A furnace tune-up can be compared to an oil change in your car or a check-up at the doctor. The main goal is to make sure that everything is working as it should be examining all the parts, performing routine maintenance, and making changes or repairs when necessary. Your HVAC technician will perform a comprehensive assessment of the entire machine, change out any parts that need replacement, and then check for proper functionality at the end. This process is usually separated into a few sections that each focus on a different aspect of a furnace repair.
- Inspection. This is generally the most involved portion of the tune-up as your technician will have a long list of features to check on your furnace. They will examine the entire machine piece by piece, looking for multiple signs of damage including:
- Normal wear and tear
- Water damage
- Signs of internal malfunctioning
In addition to checking all the parts of the furnace including the condensate drain, fan, compressor, condenser, and thermostat, your technician will confirm proper temperature in multiple locations on the machine such as ambient temperature, temperature across the coil, and suction line temperature. This overall evaluation should also include a pilot and gas pressure check to make sure these elements are working to their specifications.
If any repairs need to be made on any features of the furnace, your technician will either make repairs on-site or schedule a future appointment, depending on what is needed. Once the inspection has been completed, your technician can move on to the next step in the tune-up process.
- Cleaning and lubrication. Because your furnace is cycling heated air throughout your home, it can become a catch-all for dust and grime. If a furnace has accumulated too much dirt, it will have trouble working properly, causing it to work harder for less efficient and therefore costing you more than it should. Your technician will clean the entire machine from top to bottom, focusing especially on parts that tend to accumulate buildup such as:
- The condenser
- The coils
- The fan blades
- The fan motor
- The blower
- The drain line
Once your furnace has been properly cleaned, it will be able to heat your home effortlessly, saving you money and repair costs in the long run.
A properly lubricated furnace is also crucial for healthy and efficient home heating. All moving parts on the machine, including the fan blades and motor, can build up to dangerous levels of friction or become worn out more quickly than usual without regular lubrication. Your technician will apply lubricant wherever necessary and test the moving parts to make sure they’ve returned to full working capacity.
- Repairs and replacements. This is the part of the tune-up where your HVAC technician will perform any repairs that your furnace may need as well as replacing old or damaged parts. One of the most important replacements made during your tune-up is the replacement of the filter, which directly affects furnace efficiency throughout the year and should be replaced every three months or less.
Your technician will also retighten all electrical connections on the machine, adjust the tension of the fan belt, adjust gas pressure if necessary, make sure the thermostat is calibrated and reading the correct temperature, and anything else your specific furnace may need during your tune-up. Each of these small changes can make a big difference in the functionality of your machine, and together they can add up to a great deal of increased efficiency and money saved over time.
- Final tests. Once every other step of the furnace tune-up has been completed, your technician will run tests on all of the lubrication, repairs, and replacements made as well as perform a final inspection of cleanliness and overall functionality. If any additional adjustments are necessary, your technician will take care of them on site before leaving. Also, they will provide you with a written copy of their analysis of the state of your furnace and communicate any information you need to know about continuing furnace maintenance on your own.
What will I notice after a furnace tune-up?
The first time you run your furnace after an HVAC technician has performed a tune-up, you’re likely to notice a dramatic increase in ease of functionality. Depending on how much grime has built up and how many minor adjustments your technician needed to make, you could see an improvement in energy efficiency as high as 30%.
In the days and weeks following your furnace tune-up, pay close attention to your energy bills. In all likelihood, you’ll see a noticeable decrease in what you owe, even during the winter months when the furnace is being used often. A clean, lubricated, and well-filtered furnace will need much less energy to bring your home to your desired temperature than a grimy machine that’s working with poor filtration and friction in its moving parts.
In addition to improved efficiency and lower energy bills, regular tune-ups will extend the lifespan of your furnace, negating the need for expensive replacements. Furnaces generally last anywhere from 8 to 20 years, and consistent tune-ups will help to get you as close to that 20-year mark as possible.
What can I do to improve the functionality of my furnace between tune-ups?
Though you should always hire an experienced HVAC technician to perform regular maintenance on your furnace, there are a few steps you can take in-between visits to prevent damage and increase longevity.
- Check your air filters. As the cold season is approaching, make a point to take out your air filters and inspect them. Can you see any light coming through? If not, it’s most likely time to get a new air filter. This is an important piece of furnace maintenance that you can knock out before the technician comes.
- Open your vents. Shutting the vents in rooms you aren’t using won’t save you money on heating costs; in fact, it can dangerously increase furnace pressure, leading to blown motors, mildew, and mold growth in the ducts, compressor damage, and more. Make sure to keep all your vents open and functional, even in rooms you don’t often use.
- Pay attention to the thermostat. Always make sure that your thermostat is on the right setting for the temperature you desire. When heating your home for the first time in a while, turn up the temperature a few degrees higher than you want at first to make sure your furnace is able to heat properly. Additionally, it might be a good idea to change the batteries in your thermostat if you can’t remember the last time it was done.
- Perform small electrical checks. For your own safety, you should leave all major furnace inspection and repair activities to a professional. However, your furnace issues may be attributed to a simple lack of connection to your home’s electricity. You can check on this by shifting the thermostat’s setting from “on” to “auto”; you may not be getting any heat, but if the fan is still blowing, you’ll know that the problem isn’t an electrical one. Additionally, you can locate your furnace’s power switch, flip it off and on, and wait for signs of life to confirm that the machine is connected to electricity.
Energy Pro: Heating Service You Can Trust
When winter is fast approaching and it’s time for a tune-up on your furnace, you’ll want to hire an energy company with a high standard of service in all areas. With Energy Pro, you can rest assured knowing that our technicians are highly professional, well-trained, and have all the tools and expertise needed to make sure your furnace tune-up is done right.
We know how important a safe, well-functioning heating system is for you and your family during the cold winter months, and we’ll quickly eradicate any threats to your safety while providing you with any repairs, new installations, or replacements needed.
Our technicians are experienced with both gas and electric furnaces and are able to perform comprehensive tune-ups on all brands and models. Additionally, we offer a safe and easy furnace replacement in the event that your old furnace is no longer safe for use. For any questions about furnace tune-up, furnace installation, or furnace repair, call Energy Pro today.