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Home Maintenance 101: The Importance of Getting a Heating Tune-Up

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The Importance of Heating System Maintenance

Freezing weather and a broken heating system are the perfect recipe for a winter nightmare. Foregoing maintenance on your furnace/ heating system before the cold of winter hits spells a higher probability of frozen pipes, long waits for a HVAC technician, and unknown and unexpected repair bills.

Much like the human body, heating systems need regular checkups to check their general health and catch issues before they become dangerous and costly down the road. The check up is an inspection of your furnace/ heating system, the diagnosis of any actual or potential issues, and options on how to remedy said issues. With regular maintenance and catching problems while the can be fixed quickly and easily, you can more than double the lifespan of your heating system. And if that isn’t enough reason to contact us for furnace maintenance, maybe the reasons below are.

Benefits of Heating System Maintenance

Lower Utility Costs & Increased Efficiency

Heating one’s home can account for 40-50% of your energy cost. After a furnace/ heating system maintenance checkup, average energy efficiency often improves up 30%, thus lowering one’s heating bill. Regular heating tune-ups keep your units working efficiently. An efficient system is a cheaper, cost-effective system. Regular professional tune-ups don’t just prevent disaster; they also reduce costs throughout the year.

It’s a common myth that closing individual vents in rooms you don’t need to warm will reduce costs, but this only puts more stress on the furnace. Reducing the number of open vents forces the furnace to pump the same air volume through a smaller space. Your heating unit is usually a central unit. That means shutting off vents does not decrease the furnace’s energy usage.

Air ducts that are too small in size (or there is just not enough ductwork for air to navigate through) can cause backed-up air, increasing pressure on your heating system and reducing efficiency. Large ducts can be equally problematic. Your heating system will have to work for longer to move air through those ducts, leading to higher utility bills. It’s important to catch issues in ductwork as soon as possible, because damaged air ducts create inefficiencies in your heating system and overload your unit.

During exceptionally low temperatures, the stress on a weak system increases exponentially. Furnace/ heating system maintenance and checkups include measuring the system’s airflow and temperature fluctuations to detect air duct damage and if changes to the system should be made to reduce repair costs on your heating unit. 

Fewer Breakdowns

One faulty element in your heating system can increase strain on the entire system, leading to the breakdown of additional components. We understand that no homeowner wants to replace their heating system, especially right before the holidays, but ignore your furnace long enough and you may not get a choice. And in freezing temperatures or remote environments, a breakdown of your heating system could go beyond frustrating and inconvenient to dangerous.

Mid-winter often sees high demand for furnace repairs and replacements- as people who chose to forego furnace checkups see their heater die when they need it most. This high demand leads to high wait times for a HVAC technician to visit to diagnose the problem with the system- let alone make the actual repair or replacement of the faulty equipment, and emergency visits often carry a surcharge, making any amount of repair bill that much higher.

Additionally, without regular maintenance, many manufacturer warranties become void. Furnace manufacturer know the components in their systems don’t always age gracefully, but that with proper maintenance they can withstand the test of time and lead efficient lives. To maintain your furnace’s warranty, manufacturers typically stipulate at least annual tune-ups be performed. (When you call them about cashing in that warranty, they’ll want to see the HVAC technician’s report and maintenance records.) Without a valid warranty, the price of replacing certain components in your heating system (or even replacing the whole unit) can become exponentially higher than you planned.

Do yourself, your family and your home a huge favor. Spend the small fee to have your furnace and heating system checked now and save yourself frustration, headaches and a freezing house and family this winter.

Detect Carbon Monoxide Leaks

A furnace checkup/ maintenance visit will uncover any issues with the exhaust line in your heating unit. Leaks from an exhaust line can be severe and lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. The CDC claims carbon monoxide causes at least 430 deaths a year.

Carbon monoxide prevents the body from absorbing oxygen properly and causes headaches, nausea, and even death. It is a colorless and odorless gas, so it’s important to install carbon monoxide sensors in addition to carrying out regular heating tune-ups. If you already have sensors, regularly check and replace your sensor’s batteries. These can often be overlooked or forgotten, but they’re an important and inexpensive safety device for the home.

carbon monoxide detector

Carbon monoxide is produced naturally during the heating process when fuel is used. The poisonous gas is usually contained within the heat exchanger in your heating system and expelled from your home via its flue vent. Heat exchangers can form cracks and holes from the metal’s constant expansion and contraction as your heating unit warms and cools. Blockages in the venting system or wrong installation can also cause a build-up and carbon monoxide leaking.

Without a carbon monoxide detector, sometimes the only way technicians (or anyone else) can detect a carbon monoxide leak is by inspecting the gas burners on the furnace. A blue flame usually indicates the gas in your furnace is completely burned – while a yellow flame can mean that the gas isn’t burning correctly. This improper burning can indicate a carbon monoxide leak.

As part of the heating system checkup, our technician inspects the heat exchanger in your unit to ensure proper fuel combustion and heat transfer. The heat exchanger itself is inspected for holes or minute cracks that could lead to carbon monoxide leaks.

Lower Carbon Footprint

An efficient system also means a lower carbon footprint. Less wasted fuel means cleaner air for you and your neighbors. One key to reducing energy costs and environmental impact is thermostat calibration.

Programmable thermostats monitor your home’s ambient temperature and engage the heating system long enough to maintain the temperature you’ve chosen. This increases the unit’s efficiency while reducing run time and costs.

programmable thermostat

If you’re constantly adjusting or recalibrating your thermostat, it’s possible that your heating unit is not functioning as it should. (Remember that thermostat batteries also need to be changed periodically.)

Improved Air Quality

Over the course of a year, forced air heating systems can build up soot, dust, and sediment. When we visit to provide a furnace maintenance visit, we replace the air filter in your furnace to improve airflow and increase your unit’s efficiency, longevity, and reduce the potential for gas leaks.  We also remove all the build up on your heating system so it produces clean air for your home, which reduces the risk of aggravating allergy and asthma conditions.

Symptoms of a dirty furnace may include:

  • increased dust in the home
  • higher than average utility bills
  • the air never feels warm enough

Faulty heating units often won’t distribute air evenly throughout the building, so individual rooms will feel hotter or colder than others. A healthy heating system will keep every room in your home comfortable and full of breathable air.

Speaking of breathable air, note that heating units also need breathing room. Restricted airflow put unnecessary strain on your heating units, which can lead to breakdowns. To avoid this, don’t leave items or furniture too close to furnaces – especially if those items are combustible, such as paint, cleaning solutions, old paper, or fabric.

Contents of a Heating Tune-Up

During a heating tune-up, our experienced technicians will assess what is needed to keep your unit running efficiently and safely. A heating system maintenance visit includes (but is not limited to):

  • Cleaning heating elements and heat exchanger to prevent blockages, expose cracks or holes in the exchanger, and keep the system functioning efficiently.
  • Check the flue draft to ensure the venting system is working correctly and any carbon monoxide is efficiently and safely removed from your home.
  • Clean and replace air filters to maintain good indoor air quality of air and improve the unit’s performance.
  • Measure temperature changes to check the efficiency of your unit.
  • Examine the thermocouple in gas or oil furnaces to prevent explosions.

These preventative measures are cheaper than waiting for your furnace to go kaput and require replacement. And if replacement is the best option, it’s better to do it while you wouldn’t be freezing to death waiting for the install. For a detailed breakdown of signs that your heating system needs maintenance, check out our list of telltale signs.

Schedule an Appointment

Opting out of an annual heating tune-up can bring unexpectedly high prices or dangers, which isn’t a welcome event during the holidays. Luckily, at Phoenix Air ATX, we adopted a completely transparent pricing structure. With our True Transparency Pricing, you’ll know almost the exact cost before repair and receive an itemized list of all tasks performed, materials, and supplies used on the job, so there are no hidden costs. We use fair market prices to sell each of our parts and only replace what is necessary to keep your furnace running smoothly and safely.

If this all sounds complicated and time-consuming, then consider joining our maintenance plan for a 15% discount on parts & labor, seasonal tune-ups, priority scheduling and more. Let us take care of your home and keep costs low and predictable.

Before you turn on your furnace this year, make sure it works efficiently and safely. Contact us today to keep you and your family safe and warm this winter.

Peace of Mind for $179 a year

Join our Maintenance Plan Program and get all the perks of membership: 10% discount on repairs, seasonal tune-ups, priority scheduling and more. 100% satisfaction guaranteed.