It’s a question we get a lot, and for good reason. After health insurance, car insurance, electricity, water, credit card, grocery, gas, phone bills, and everything else, $139 per year is money we don’t really want to part ways with. Especially when we don’t even know that it’s necessary!
Are annual inspections/tune-ups necessary?
All furnace manufacturers recommend annual maintenance to be performed by a qualified technician. There is also verbiage in their warranties saying that any damage done to the unit because of lack of maintenance will not be covered.
Does this mean that if you skip a year or two of maintenance that your warranty is now void? Probably not, but the manufacturers still highly recommend it.
It’s like having a yearly prostate exam or physical. Is it necessary? No. Is it beneficial and will issues be caught and addressed before they get worse. Yes.
What is actually done during a furnace tune-up?
With so many contractors out there touting “21-point inspections” or “34-point tune-ups”, it’s hard to figure out what is actually being checked and done to your furnace. So, when you ask yourself what is actually performed, the answer is that it depends.
There currently is no industry standard when it comes to furnace maintenance. Depending on the contractor, they might just show up, see that the furnace is still in your basement, and leave without checking a single thing! Or, they will come out at a low cost, and charge a premium for common checks.
Here are some best practices that all of our technicians go by:
- Your venting system should always be checked for blockages and proper slope. This includes a visual inspection, draft inspection, as well as a combustion analysis to check for carbon monoxide as well as other important readings. This step is crucial as it is the only thing standing in the way of your furnace poisoning your household.
- The heat exchanger should always be looked at. This can be done through a combustion analysis and a visual inspection.
- All safety switches (roll outs, high limits, etc) should be tested for proper operation. This step is crucial as it is the only thing standing in the way of your furnace over heating and starting a fire.
- Your burners should be checked for proper ignition and flame.
- The flame sensor and ignition device (ignitor, spark, thermocouple, etc.) should be inspected for cleanliness and proper readings.
- The combustion blower (the thing that pushes your combustion air outside) should be checked for bearing noises and amp draw as well as blockages.
- Your main blower needs to be looked at for cleanliness, proper amp draws, and capacitor readings.
- The drainage system should be inspected and cleaned. Only 90%+ efficient furnaces will need this step.
- All wiring needs to be checked for proper connections and corrosion.
- A temperature rise (and static pressure test if needed) should be performed to measure adequate airflow.
- Gas pressures should also be confirmed.
- Your filter should always be checked for proper installation and cleanliness.
Can this be done by a homeowner?
Absolutely! However, the only homeowners who have the proper equipment to do all of these important inspections are HVAC professionals.
Do I really need to pay $139 for furnace maintenance?
In short, yes. This is what professionals charge. We see advertisements all the time for $29 furnace inspections or $59 tune-ups. Here’s something you should know. An HVAC contractor can’t even show up to your house for that price! It is almost guaranteed that the service technician who shows up at your front door will find something wrong and charge you a premium for it to cover their costs.
Spoiler: There’s probably no issue.
We see it all the time and try to inform our customers as best as we can.
Here’s what you get from our profession tune-ups:
- Everything listed above checked every time.
- A call directly to you when the technician is on their way.
- A 30 day warranty where we show up, anytime day or night, free of charge if you have a breakdown within 30 days of us being there for any reason.
- Trained technicians who don’t just sell parts, but give solutions and professional diagnostics.
- 24/7 customer service who is ready to help whenever you need it.