How To Do A Furnace Tune Up To Save On Energy & Repair Bills [With Pictures]

With winter coming, you're probably thinking about how much money you'll be spending this season to keep your home warm. Here's a way to save some dough! It's time for an annual furnace tune up - don't wait until something goes wrong. Our team of certified technicians are out in full force to make sure everything is running smoothly before the cold weather comes in full force. Tune ups are easy, fast, and can save you big bucks on energy bills!

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What Is A Furnace Tune Up?

An HVAC specialist performs a furnace tune up to ensure that all of the heating system's parts are in good working order. They inspect your heating system and use a variety of tools to clean and adjust each component as well as test its efficiency. Regular maintenance of your HVAC system will prevent breakdowns, increase efficiency, and extend the system's lifespan by preventing dirt and corrosion, and replacing valuable parts before damage becomes widespread.

What Are The Benefits Of Furnace Maintenance?

Furnace maintenance is a great way to keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently. Have you been putting it off? If so, you're not alone. Unfortunately, most people don't realize the importance of regular maintenance until there's a problem with their equipment that can't be fixed right away. If you don't get routine HVAC maintenance, there's no telling how much money you could end up spending down the road because of your HVAC system!

A Furnace Tune Up Prevents repairs

A furnace tune up can be the difference between staying warm in winter or shivering without heat. A furnace tune up, also known as a heating maintenance, includes an inspection and cleaning of your system to ensure each component is working at its best level. At this point, an HVAC technician will be able to determine if any parts need to be replaced before they fail, such as an old and rusted heat exchanger, or a failing blower motorFurthermore, cleaning your furnace regularly reduces the likelihood of your HVAC system failing due to a dirty air filter or clogged drain line, as well as catching any potential problems before they become more significant.

If you forgot your furnace maintenance this year and it seems to be having some problems, check out our blog on furnace problems that may require a professional repair.

Maintenance Extends Your HVAC System's Lifespan

life expectancy without furnace tune up

Lack of furnace maintenance kills your furnace

If you want your heating system to last as long as possible, it's important that each of its components are clean. Grime and dirt make it more difficult for your heating system to keep up with your household needs, which contributes to early deterioration. Moreover, the breakdown of one part causes the breakdown of the rest of the system. Routine furnace maintenance keeps your furnace working in optimal condition for as long as possible.

A Furnace Tune Up Lowers Utility Bills  

All of the parts in an HVAC must be clean and working well for them to maintain their performance level. When you have a dirty or worn out furnace, it can make your heating system work harder. As soon as your furnace starts putting in extra work, you will see your energy bill increase. Furnace tune ups maximize the efficiency of your HVAC system by ensuring your furnace does not struggle to meet the demands of your household.

A tune up is great time to learn more about your HVAC system, prevent repairs, and lower your energy bills. But if you are in the midst of buying a home, you are not authorized to conduct work on that property yet. Unfortunately you risk You running into an ancient HVAC system, which is full of problems. That's why a separate HVAC Inspection is just as important as the preliminary home inspection. If your are a currently in the home buying position learn more here. You will not be able to DIY a HVAC inspection since you are not the property owner, although it is critical to perform a thorough check-up of the HVAC system with an HVAC inspection before you move into a new house. 

How To DIY Furnace Tune Up:

Routine maintenance is essential to maintaining your home's heating and cooling systems. So you may be wondering, can I provide routine maintenance for my furnace? Yes, and it's really not that hard. The homeowner has many options when it comes to maintaining the condition of their home heating system. Let's find out more!

Step 1: Remove Furnace Door

Remove furnace door

Removing furnace door

To clean the inside of your furnace you will need to remove the furnace door. You do this by unscrewing the panels with a screw driver. 

Step 2: Change Furnace Filter

Charlie changing filter during furnace tune up

Change filter to promote proper air flow.

The easiest way to take care of your furnace is to change the furnace filter at least 4 times a year. For households with a pet or members who suffer from allergies or asthma, air filter changes should take place every six weeks. You should also check that all registers and vents are open and not blocked in order to promote airflow. Learn how to change your furnace filters with this handy guide here

Step 3: Inspect Flame 

bad flame

Inspect Flame. If the flame is orange call an HVAC Pro ASAP!

Take a good look at the burner flame inside your furnace. What does it look like?The burner flame inside your furnace should be blue, and if it's not then there is a problem. Yellow or orange flames indicate dirt in the burner which can lead to other problems as well such as lowering efficiency of combustion (so less heat). If you notice a flickering flame - this might mean not enough oxygen being mixed in to complete combustion, which could result in major issues down the road like gas leaks!

Step 4: Vacuum Inside Furnace 

Charlie vacuuming cabinet during furnace tune up

Vacuum the furnace cabinet to get rid of dirt and dust.

The next thing the homeowner can do is to vacuum the inside of the furnace, which is called the cabinet. With a vacuum hose carefully suck up any debris, dirt, or dust. Be careful not to hit or suck up any other internal components. 

Step 5: Clean Condensate Line 

checking condensate drain line by pouring water

Pour water down the condensate drain line to test if it is clogged.

Another preventative maintenance step homeowners can take is to inspect and clean their condensate line. The condensate line is a white pipe on the side or front of your furnace. It drains the condensation from your AC and furnace. You can open the top and see if it appears dirty or cracked. Next pour water down the top to assess whether the water drains properly or if it is clogged. Clean and unclog the condensate line if necessary to ensure that your HVAC system doesn’t leak water. If you find your furnace leaking water find out what to do here!

Step 6: Close Damper


When it starts getting outside cold outside it's important to close your upstairs damper. Do this to take advantage of the property of heat rising. Science is the key to efficiency.  

What Does A Furnace Tune Up Include From An HVAC Pro?

HVAC specialists are master craftsmen, who take pride in their work. You can read an in depth list of heating maintenance tasks from the AC Contractors of America here. But to get the main idea keep reading below!

Furnace Cabinet Inspection & Cleaning 

Tightening a loose wire connection. 

The cabinet holds many of the main components in the heating system. During a furnace tuneup, the structural integrity of the furnace cabinet will be inspected. The HVAC technician vacuums the inside of the cabinet to remove dirt and dust, which are corrosive elements. While inside the cabinet the HVAC specialist meticulously cleans, adjusts, and tests the blower wheel, safety switches, and numerous electrical connections, like the control board. In the event that cabinet fasteners, cabinet panels, blower wheel, safety switches, control board, or any electrical connections are damaged or loose, the HVAC technician will notify the homeowner and repair it. 

Gas combustion Inspection for gas furnace tune up

The HVAC pro assesses the the condition of the gas valve and makes adjustments if needed. The HVAC technician will determine if there is a gas leak or CO present. Additionally, they will assess if the CO detectors in home are functional. This is critical for your safety since gas is explosive and Carbon Monoxide poisoning is fatal. 

Charlie checking for gas leak during a furnace tune up

Checking for gas leak.

As part of checking for the possibility of a gas or CO leak, the HVAC pro will inspect the flue venting. And next, they examine the condition of the heat exchanger to see if there are any rust, cracks, or holes evident. When your heat exchanger is cracked, Carbon Monoxide seeps onto your home posing a fatal risk to all residents. Learn how to tell if your heat exchanger is cracked here

Cockeysville Charlie finds rust on heat exchanger during furnace tune up

Checks for cracks in heat exchanger

Additionally, the HVAC Specialist examines, tests, and cleans the burners, igniter, inducer motor, and pilot assembly. 

Charlie is checking the amp for the inducer motor during a Furnace Tune Up.

HVAC Pro checking the efficiency of the internal electrical components, including the inducer motor.

Condensate Inspection & Removal  

The HVAC technician will examine the visible condensate drain piping, traps, drain, and drain pumps for proper operation. They will clean, repair, or replace as necessary. 

Thermostat evaluation Performed For Heating Maintenance 

HVAC professionals check the temperature calibration, clean the connections, and check if the batteries need to be changed. When your thermostat starts acting out, learn basic troubleshooting methods here

Airflow Assessment For HVAC System Tune Up

checking static pressureduring a furnace tune up.

Checking static pressure to assess airflow

Air flow plays a critical role in how comfortable we are in our home. A furnace's efficiency decreases drastically without proper airflow. During a furnace tune up by an HVAC specialist, they will assess the efficiency of your air flow by performing tests to determine the static pressure. Next, they look over your duct work, make sure all vents and registers are open and working properly, and close your damper. Also, if you our gold member, they certainly make sure to change your furnace filter! A simple step that goes a long way.

furnace tune up system health report

Furnace Tune Up: System Health Report 

The HVAC specialist will provide homeowners with a System Healthy Report at the end of every furnace tune up. It contains a thorough account of everything your technician examined and its current status. 

Prepare For The Cold

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How Often Do I Need A Furnace Tune Up?

Routine furnace maintenance should be performed once a year. Get your annual furnace tune up right before the heating season begins to avoid needing a furnace repair during the most critical time of year. 

How Much Is Furnace Maintenance ?

HVAC Tune ups can range in price from $40- $200. Although, low-cost furnace maintenance typically does not include an extensive and in depth furnace inspection and furnace cleaning.

How Long Does A Furnace Tune Up Take?

A heating system tune up can take an estimated 1-2 hours. The length of the furnace tune up depends on the extent of the maintenance being performed and the overall condition and cleanliness of your HVAC system. Be aware that if an HVAC contractor completes the heating maintenance in less than an hour, it likely is not an in depth evaluation.

Common Furnace Problems That Are Preventable With A Furnace Tune Up 

Furnace Not Turning On

Common reasons for your furnace not turning on are a dirty or faulty pilot light, blower motor, thermostat or circuit board wiring. When an HVAC Pro services your HVAC system, they clean and inspect the efficiency of the pilot light, blower motor, thermostat, and circuit board. Therefore, your home's furnace not turning on could have been caught ahead of time or prevented altogether. Explore more factors that lead to your furnace not turning on here. And if it's your pilot light that is giving you trouble, we have a few industry tips for you here

Furnace Blowing Cold Air

During a heating system tune up, an HVAC contractor will catch the main culprits that cause your furnace to not blow warm air but blow cold air. Typical reasons your heater is blowing cold air include a dirty or faulty thermostat, internal control board, or filter. An HVAC Professional will clean and tighten all the wires in your thermostat and internal control board, as well as replace your filter. You significantly reduce the risk of your furnace blowing cold air with a furnace tune up. Learn more about your furnace blowing cold air here


Dirty thermostat can cause furnace to malfunction. 

Furnace Leaking Water

The most common reason for a furnace leaking water is a clogged condensate line. When an HVAC contractor provides routine furnace maintenance they check and clean your HVAC system’s condensate line and drain. Therefore, it is very unlikely you will suffer a leaky furnace this heating season. The heating and air conditioning share the same condensate line, so it is important to get an air conditioning tune up before summer as well.

Furnace Noises

Many homeowners fear a furnace breakdown when their furnace starts making bizarre noises. If you start to hear squealing, grinding, scraping, or thumping sounds, it could be coming from your furnace’s blower motor. During an annual furnace tune up, the HVAC specialist evaluates the condition of the furnace’s blower motor. They also clean the blower motor for optimal efficiency. You can shut down the racket before it even starts with preventative maintenance furnace tune up.

Cracked Heat Exchanger

A cracked heat exchanger is a dangerous situation if not caught in time. During a heating system tune up, an HVAC technician will inspect your heat exchanger for holes and cracks. As part of the inspection process, they will also check for conditions of rust and corrosion because that is a warning sign that cracks and holes are likely to appear in the future. During this time they also take measures that reduce the risk of your heat exchanger cracking such as changing the air filter and cleaning the blower motor. Additionally, the HVAC pro also test for Carbon Monoxide to ensure your home is safe from the poisonous gas. You can know ahead of time that your heat exchanger is about to crack and take proactive steps against your heat exchanger cracking with a furnace tuneup .

Furnace Odors

Furnace tune-ups remove common triggers of furnace odors. Conditions such as electrical connection problems, burning dirt and dust, are caught and remedied during a furnace cleaning and inspection. Keep your furnace in good hygiene with an annual furnace tune up.

High Energy Bills Due To Furnace Short Cycling 

If your furnace is short cycling, it’s running your energy bills through the roof. Short cycling is when your furnace constantly turns on and off before reaching the set temperature. Common causes include a dirty blower motor or a dirty flame sensor. A furnace tune up involves a thorough furnace cleaning, which includes cleaning the flame sensor and the blower motor. Keep your energy bill from rising with routine furnace maintenance.

furnace tune up equals low energy bills

Furnace Tune Up = Low Energy Bills

Not Warm Despite High Energy Bills 

Unfortunately, when it feels like your furnace just isn’t keeping up, your energy bills are skyrocketing.There are many factors that impede on your furnace achieving the thermostat set temperature, such as a dirty furnace, and specifically a dirty air filter. But if you have an older furnace, a furnace inspection will reveal the age and overall condition of your home’s furnace. Your furnace's age is a substantial factor in its performance, and if it is not keeping up, you will see high energy bills. Stay on top of your energy bills with a furnace tuneup.

Maintain Your Comfort Year Round

It's easy for a small problem with your heating system to become much bigger very quickly. That’s why furnace tune-ups are a great way to save money on heating bills and avoid costly repairs down the line. If you have a heat pump system, a heating maintenance can help reduce how often your auxiliary heat turns on, learn more here. And let's not forget about your AC too! You can keep your HVAC bills low and maintain your comfort in the summer with an AC tune up

When you’re ready for a furnace tune up, we can help. It’s not just about saving money on heating bills and avoiding the cost of repairs – it has all sorts of benefits that will have your home running more efficiently and comfortably than ever before! Call SuperTech or schedule online today!

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