Do I Really Need an Annual Furnace Inspection?
This is a question our comfort specialists hear all the time from home owners...
"Is it really necessary I get a furnace inspection every year?"
Your furnace is responsible for heating your home. The most commonly used heating system, furnaces burn fuel or electricity to heat air, then push it to rooms throughout your home through your ductwork. Your furnace is probably located in your basement, attic, closet or crawlspace.
During the cold winter months, HVAC equipment is the key to your home’s comfort, so it needs to be cared for with preventative maintenance. And maintaining your furnace with regular tune-ups can extend your unit’s lifespan, maximize its efficiency, prevent breakdowns, eliminate safety hazards, and lower your heating costs.
Are Annual Furnace Inspections Really Necessary?
We all try to stretch certain check ups or regular maintenance. Your car's oil change, or your last dentist visit – I can go another few months without a teeth cleaning, right?
But when it comes to regular furnace maintenance, you really shouldn't skimp. Yes, a professional furnace inspection is best each year before the cooling season in your region.
Read the following Q&A to learn more about how an annual furnace inspection will save you time and money, and keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.
When Should I Schedule My Furnace Inspection?
It’s best to book your annual furnace maintenance at the beginning of the fall, when you’re making the switch from air conditioner to furnace season. This critical HVAC maintenance will ensure optimum performance before temperatures drop and nip any potential furnace problems in the bud.
HVAC tune-ups can still happen, even after cold weather hits. If it is already winter and weather has shifted to below freezing temperatures, you can still schedule service from a qualified professional to perform maintenance on your furnace.
What Does A Professional Furnace Inspection Include?
An HVAC inspection is a checklist of tasks that your HVAC technician performs to ensure your unit is operating properly. While exact services vary between most HVAC companies, your furnace tune-up prepares your furnace to run in winter weather.
Here at ARS®/Rescue Rooter®, our furnace inspection includes the following furnace cleaning and services:
- Clean blower motor compartment
- Clean and adjust flame sensor and burners
- Inspect and tighten wiring and electrical connections
- Inspect the furnace's heat exchanger
- Inspect the gas pressure and flame operation
- Inspect igniter and pilot light
- Look at and vacuum indoor air filter
- Check ductwork and connections for proper airflow
DIY Furnace Inspection vs. Professional HVAC Technician
Should you assume you can do it yourself? Of course, but heating contractors are the only homeowners who are experienced enough to complete all of these tasks. But do you really want to be held responsible when your HVAC system fails in the middle of the coldest night? We didn't think so.
Nobody wants to wake up shivering in the middle of the night to discover their furnace isn’t working, and professional inspections of HVAC systems pinpoint minor problems before they require major repairs.
If you’re on the fence about whether to schedule your annual tune-up just to save a few bucks, remember that the cost of a tune-up doesn’t compare to the emergency rates your HVAC technician will charge on an inconvenient holiday. Investing in HVAC inspections upfront will save you extra energy, repair and re-installation costs caused by furnace neglect.
How Long Does A Furnace Inspection Take?
You can expect the inspection process to take up to an hour, depending on the configuration of your system. Upon completion, your service technician should present their inspection checklist and share any professional recommendations about your system.
Does my older furnace need a tune-up or does it need to be replaced?
A well maintained furnace can last 15 years — so if you’re not the furnace’s first owner, you might have to do a little research to figure out its age. But there are other telltale signs, besides age, that your unit might need to be replaced.
If you’ve noticed that your furnace requires increasingly frequent repairs or that your energy bills keep climbing, it may be time to replace your furnace. Your furnace blower may be cycling on and off more often than it used to.
Other red flags include uneven heating in different rooms of the house, rattling or banging sounds while running, or debris coming from your vents. If you’re not sure whether you need a replacement, our HVAC technicians can take a look at your system and talk to you about repair and replacement options if needed.
Can Furnace Inspections Validate My Warranty?
Yes! If your furnace is under a manufacturer’s warranty, it’s important to schedule your furnace tune-up. Most furnace manufacturers recommend annual maintenance by a qualified HVAC technician, and won’t cover damage caused by improper maintenance. If you have a home warranty, regular furnace tune-ups may be included in your plan.
What Can Be Done Between Tune-Ups to Optimize My Furnace’s Performance?
Here's a quick list of to-dos:
- Make sure to store flammable items, such as paint, gasoline or cleaning products, away from your furnace.
- Always make sure to change furnace filters regularly, every 1 to 6 months depending on the filter.
- Make sure to set your thermostat from air conditioning mode to heating mode. Your furnace works hard to keep your house comfortable, so consider using a programmable thermostat to help give your furnace a rest by running at cooler temperatures while you’re at work or asleep.
Regular use takes its toll on your HVAC system. You can protect your home’s HVAC system and improve your family’s comfort year-round with an HVAC maintenance plan.
Thankfully ARS®/Rescue Rooter® offers an Home Service Plan, which includes 2 regularly scheduled furnace tune-ups. Our Home Service Plan offers preferred pricing on HVAC service repair and installation, a one-year warranty on labor and parts, priority emergency service, and more!