What’s Included in a Furnace Tune-Up Checklist?
As temperatures begin to drop, be sure to complete your furnace tune-up checklist with a professional HVAC contractor. It’s essential to perform regular preventive furnace maintenance so your system operates safely and efficiently during the fall and winter heating seasons. Furnace tune-ups also help lower utility bills and maintain a higher level of comfort.
It’s important to understand what’s commonly included on a furnace tune-up checklist so you know what to expect each year. Additionally, you’ll want to consider other fall maintenance tasks that will save you energy and increase your home’s comfort as winter approaches.
What’s Included on a Furnace Maintenance Checklist?
While tune-up tasks may vary among different HVAC contractors, a qualified technician includes these essential checkpoints in their evaluation:
- Lubricate the moving parts of your system to reduce friction, such as motors, bearings, fans, and air circulators.
- Clean and adjust the pilot light assembly and electrodes.
- Check the gas pressure and burner combustion to ensure they meet system specifications.
- Measure the current and voltage on the motor for efficiency.
- Clean the blower assembly and confirm proper airflow.
- Check the blower motor and belt for wear or malfunction.
- Clean the heat exchanger and inspect it for cracks, soot, and corrosion.
- Inspect the terminals and wiring for corrosion, and apply a non-conductive coating if needed.
- Test for dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) leaks.
- Inspect the flues and ventilation system to ensure gas vents properly.
- Inspect ductwork for loose joints, and seal with mastic duct sealant.
- Test oil pumps and gas valves for correct operation.
- Check your thermostat for accuracy.
- Test the system controls to ensure your furnace or heat pump cycles properly.
- Tighten electrical wiring and gas connections as needed.
- Replace the air filter (if supplied by customer), or drain the expansion tank.
- Measure and adjust the pressure regulator, or replace the oil filter and nozzle.
- Test operating controls and safety features, and adjust as necessary.
- Prepare equipment condition report, explaining any potential problems or recommended repairs to customer.
- Provide a report detailing duties performed and any recommendations for usage changes, HVAC repairs, system retrofits, or upgrades.
Do I Need a Heating Tune-Up Every Year?
A professional HVAC checkup is the best, most cost-effective way to keep your furnace or heat pump running like new for years to come.
This checkup is just as important as the tune-up you get for your car. Even if your car were brand new, you wouldn’t wait until there was a problem to bring it in for an oil change. Whether your furnace or heat pump is a month old or 10 years old, it needs a tune-up each fall.
Why Furnace Tune-Up Checklists are Important
With a busy schedule, you may be tempted to skip annual furnace maintenance. However, yearly tune-ups are important for safety, comfort, indoor air quality, lower energy bills, and longevity, as well as reducing the need for repairs.
Furnaces create heat by combustion and burning fossil fuel. Fuel lines must therefore be inspected, and, if applicable, the igniter must be recalibrated.
It’s critical to inspect the heat exchanger each year. Over time, this important and expensive component in your furnace can develop small cracks. Overuse and maintenance neglect often accelerate this situation.
Cracks allow poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) gas to leak into your home. Regular inspections, as well as CO detectors, often prevent tragedies, so make maintenance a priority.
Lower Energy Bills
With a heating tune-up, you can ensure that your furnace will run efficiently and smoothly this winter. You’ll also be more comfortable when you’re out enjoying the money you’ve saved, as a well-maintained furnace means lower monthly energy bills and a longer lifespan for your heating system.
If I Have a Heat Pump, Do I Need a Fall Heating Tune-Up?
Because heat pumps both heat and cool a home, we recommend tune-ups for heat pumps twice a year. This is comparable to having an AC tune-up in the spring and a furnace tune-up in the fall. Since a heat pump performs both functions, this type of system needs tune-ups for both seasons.
The details of the furnace tune-up checklist and the heat pump tune-up checklist vary slightly based on their components. During a fall tune-up, it’s important to check that the heat pump is ready to switch to heat mode. In the spring, it’s reversed to get ready for switching back to air conditioning.
4 Additional Tips for Fall Home Maintenance & Safety
Aside from seeking out an all-encompassing heating tune-up from a professional, there are several things you can do yourself before turning on your furnace in the fall. These tasks can help ensure your family’s safety and your furnace’s efficiency.
1. Check and Change Air Filters
Stock up on high-quality air filters. Check your air filter every month, and when dirt and debris are visible, replace it with a clean one. This is the number one thing HVAC contractors wish homeowners knew.
A clean filter ensures optimum airflow, prevents dust from entering your system, and improves your indoor air quality. Dirty filters create all kinds of problems, so check it monthly and change it as needed.
For most people, this is every two to three months. Smokers, pet owners, and those with respiratory conditions often need to change it monthly.
2. Is Your Ceiling Fan Rotating Clockwise?
Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans in winter to pull cool air up and push warm air down the walls, keeping you more comfortable at lower thermostat settings.
3. Test and Change the Batteries in Smoke & CO Detectors
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 10,000 people suffer from CO poisoning every year. Nearly 500 people actually lose their lives.
To prevent this, replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Install one of each on every floor in your home, with one close to each of your sleeping areas.
4. Winterize Your Plumbing & Outdoor Spigots
Preparing your plumbing for winter is important for protecting your pipes and plumbing. You’ll want to turn off your outdoor water connections and bleed the leftovers out. If your pipes have already frozen, here are some tips on how to thaw a frozen pipe.
Prevent Major Heating and Cooling Problems with the Apollo Care Plan
We recommend an investment in the Apollo Care Plan for Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homeowners. Membership includes seasonal tune-ups of your heating and cooling equipment, as well as annual evaluations of your electrical and plumbing systems.
Use this yearly evaluation to ask questions and to ensure your home mechanicals and systems are in good shape. Apollo Care Plan members also enjoy other benefits, including priority scheduling, discounts, and a VIP phone number.
Since 1910, Apollo Home has served the home comfort needs of the greater Cincinnati and the surrounding area. Whether it’s heating, air conditioning, electrical, or plumbing services, Apollo Home is there for the health of your whole home.
Contact us today for help when you need an HVAC contractor, a licensed plumber, or a licensed electrician in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky.
"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
- Jerry A.
"I called Apollo because of a water leak I thought I had in our upstairs shower going into the kitchen. Robbie came and assured me everything was fine & looked at all the other plumbing. He ended up changing a few pipes for our washer & clearing a drain. He was very nice & knowledgeable with all my questions. I ended up signing up for the care plan & was very happy with my service."
- Cassandra B.
"The team at Apollo exceeded my expectations. As a business owner, my attention to the details and commitment to providing excellent service is high. From the sales rep. to the installation team, everyone’s performance was outstanding. For example, the installation team went to great lengths to protect our floors, placing floor runners and across the wood floors and up the stairs. They even were spot washing walls upon their departure. I highly recommend this company."
- Randy B.
"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
"Apollo is an excellent company. I always receive great service. Alex A. was professional and friendly. He kept me informed during the process of checking my furnace and heat pump to make sure they were working properly. The company makes sure you are notified who is coming and when they are on the way. All my interactions with the company have been wonderful."
- Beverly S.