Why you need an annual heating system tune-up.
Just like you or your car, your furnace or boiler needs an annual check-up or tune-up to make sure that it’s running at peak performance and helps you save on energy costs. But that’s just one of the many benefits of getting your heating system tuned up. There are so many more and many that may surprise you.
Benefits of a heating system tune-up.
- Improves energy efficiency, helping increase heating performance and reduce heating costs
- Minimizes any potential heating system breakdowns
- Reduces the chance of requiring major repairs and any potentially costly emergency services
- Cleaning makes sure that the system is in good working order so it’s ready to keep you warm as soon as you need it
What’s the best time to schedule a heating system tune-up?
- During the off-season, between the months of April and August is the perfect time to think about preventative heating system maintenance
- When it’s hot outside, you take advantage of the convenience, flexibility and ease of scheduling a tune-up appointment when others aren’t thinking about colder weather
- Scheduling in spring or summer, means there’s more time to take care of any potential repairs before it’s cold outside
- If there are any major repairs required or if you need a new heating system, it gives you time to shop for and have a new, more energy-efficient system installed
What does a technician do during the annual heating system tune-up?
- Clean the heating unit of dirt, dust, and grime that affects performance
- Check the thermostat settings to ensure they are both energy-efficient and comfortable for your home
- Reset the system’s specifications, as needed, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and checks all safety components including the limit controls
- Check all electrical connections, motors, and controls for safety and proper function
- Inspects the oil connections, as well as pressure and burner combustion
- Check vents, drafts, and flues for leaks. (Any ductwork leak can affect your heating efficiency, creating a loss of about 20 percent or more.)
- Perform a safety inspection of the heat exchanger. (The heat exchanger needs to be professionally inspected to ensure its physical integrity is not compromised, which can cause carbon monoxide to leak into the home.)
- Check the hydronic system for leaks. A small water leak may go unnoticed for a while but eventually causes a loss of pressure in the system, affecting efficiency.
- Test for airflow. Restricted airflow affects efficiency and can lead to increased energy costs.
- Check the condensate drain (if the system also includes central air or features a condensing heat system).
A comprehensive boiler or furnace tune-up and inspection by a professional is essential for any age of heating system — older models as well as new. Keep all tune-up records as proof of the inspection and service. These records may be needed if you must file a warranty claim.
Safety tip: Remember carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas with the potential to poison humans and pets if it builds up indoors. Carbon monoxide can be deadly. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide or CO detector in your home near your bedroom. You should also consider installing additional detectors if you have a multi-level home. CO detectors should be tested monthly.
How you can help keep your heating system running at peak performance.
Regularly change or clean the unit’s air filter. If using a disposable type of fiberglass air filter, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) suggests replacing the filter every three months. Always change the air filter if it’s damaged or damp. A damp air filter can lead to mold growth. Any mold that grows on the filter can send spores through the system and into the air that you and your family breathe, which may trigger allergies and respiratory issues. Your home’s furnace filter may need more frequent replacement if home has:
- A heating system that runs six months or longer
- Pets in the home, a large family, or anyone suffering from allergies or respiratory conditions
- A smoker living in or visiting your home frequently
- The risk of being in an area that suffers wildfires, as ash can make its way indoors and clog the filter
- A fireplace or wood stove that’s used frequently
- A working farm or ranch where dust and dirt regularly are disturbed and can enter the home, causing air filter clogs
- A lot of construction happening nearby
Other tips to help keep your heating system running smoothly.
- Never store gas cans, weed whackers, and other similar items next to the furnace or boiler
- At least twice a year dust the outside of the heating system to help maintain its efficiency
- Don’t forget to turn the thermostat to heating mode when the temperatures begin to drop, as the heat won’t turn on when you need it if the thermostat is still set above the average room temperature or is still in air conditioning mode
- Test the heating system in early September to ensure it turns on properly
Having your heating system tuned up by a professional technician is the best way for you to stay warm at home, save on energy costs and enjoy total peace of mind all winter. Contact us today to schedule your annual heating system tune-up!