Prepare Your Furnace for the Winter Season

Technician instructing homeowner on themostat use - Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing

Winters in Cincinnati, OH tend to be brutally cold, putting furnaces across the state to the test. Furnace tune ups are critical components of routine maintenance, since they help your system achieve its maximum efficiency and prevent problems like cracked heat exchangers.

Tune ups also help homeowners tackle preventative maintenance tasks that play a role in extending the life of a furnace. Whether you need a new air filter or you struggled with high energy costs last season, a furnace tune up takes care of many essential tasks today that could help your furnace last longer.

Use this convenient guide to learn more about the furnace maintenance tasks you should have performed every year, and what tune ups typically entail. Make sure to let the HVAC professionals here at Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling & Plumbing know if you need our team to check, clean, or repair your furnace before the coldest part of the season arrives.

Why are Furnace Tune Ups Necessary?

Furnace tune ups are absolutely essential for heating systems, regardless of what kind of equipment you have. Heat pumps, boilers, and furnaces all require routine care to run safely and efficiently. Tune ups are designed to counteract the normal wear and tear furnaces sustain during the heating season, improving efficiency. When furnaces aren’t tuned up, homeowners are more likely to experience higher energy bills, the need for frequent HVAC repairs, and a system that simply doesn’t last as long as it could with routine care.

Here are a few ways furnace tune ups help your system and why you should book your preventive maintenance visit soon, if you haven’t done so already.

  • Protect your system warranty. Since overlooked furnace problems can end the life of your furnace prematurely, manufacturers typically require routine tune ups to continue providing warranty coverage. While there are many maintenance tasks homeowners can do on their own to keep their HVAC system in good condition, routine, documented professional visits are critical for keeping your warranty up-to-date and valid.
  • Improve comfort. Dust buildup, wear and tear, and even damaged duct lines can keep your furnace from operating at its best. However, during tune ups, HVAC technicians inspect, clean, lubricate, calibrate, and tighten your system components, helping your furnace run as efficiently as possible to keep your home comfortable. Your home will feel warmer and more comfortable when your furnace is operating like it should, as cold spots are reduced and better air quality is delivered inside your living areas.
  • Lower energy costs. Whether your system has dust buildup or worn components, your furnace is forced to consume more energy to heat your home if issues are present. This additional workload can harm furnace efficiency and increase costs. Tune ups are designed to improve efficiency, so your system uses as little energy as possible to heat your home.
  • Keep your family safe. Gas furnaces are designed with sensors and controls to prevent accidents, such as carbon monoxide leaks. However, any mechanical device that relies on combustion can create this odorless, colorless gas. During routine system tune ups, technicians check your system for problems, such as an ignition sequence that isn’t lighting properly or a cracked heat exchanger. Gas pressure and safety sensors will also be checked to ensure they are in good working order.
  • Prevent premature breakdowns. When your furnace is neglected or continuously operated while problems are present, the system can overheat, malfunction, or break, which can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in the long run. Furnace tune ups are important to prevent emergencies that could leave your family without heat on a cold winter’s day. By spotting and repairing components early, you can eliminate expenses and stress.
  • Extend the furnace’s usable life. Counteracting wear and tear through routine system tune ups can also help your system to last longer. Well-maintained furnaces run efficiently for longer, helping families to save money every year a full replacement isn’t needed.

How Often Should You Schedule Tune Ups?

Tune ups are considered an important preventive maintenance task that should be scheduled once a year for conventional furnaces, and twice a year for heat pumps, since they heat and cool your home. Try to schedule tune ups for conventional furnaces before winter, and semi-annual tune ups for heat pumps in the fall and spring, before their respective heating and cooling seasons.

What Typically Happens During Tune Ups?

Tune ups are very comprehensive and allow your HVAC professional to clean and prepare your heating system for winter. Here are the tasks typically included in a standard tune up:

  • Calibrate and test thermostat
  • Inspect and adjust fan belt tension
  • Check pilot or electronic ignition system
  • Make sure system and safety controls are operating properly
  • Clean and inspect burners and burner assembly
  • Replace HVAC filter
  • Clean interior and exterior of furnace
  • Check and adjust gas pressure
  • Check voltage and connectivity of electrical components
  • Tighten any loose electrical connections
  • Check fuel lines and make sure gas valve is open
  • Check flue and exhaust system
  • Lubricate blower motor bearings
  • Check for carbon monoxide
  • Check heat exchanger for cracks or evidence of overheating

Get Your Tune Up Scheduled Today!

Do yourself a favor and add “furnace tune up” to your list of to-dos this winter. Enjoy better air quality, improved efficiency, lower energy costs, and a more comfortable home. Contact us here at Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling & Plumbing for the help you need to get your furnace ready for winter today!

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