Lack of Furnace Maintenance – Destroyer #5

This one is painful, because it is about you. I realize that life today can be fast paced, crazy and often over scheduled. This usually means that the furnace and air conditioner get neglected. I get it. Even as a seasoned technician, I forgot about my HVAC equipment too! Then of course, I signed up for a service agreement and my furnace has not missed a maintenance visit since.

Need a furnace tune up?
I’m sure many of you have read or have been told that it is important to have your furnace serviced annually. You may even have received a call from a heating and air conditioning company trying to sell you a tune up.

Before I throw you a pitch on why furnace and air conditioner maintenance is important – let me share exactly what can happen with a lack of maintenance. Then after that, I will share what are the top components and items that should be checked. Finally, I’ll disclose the proper price of a furnace tune up!

Lack of maintenance on your furnace or air conditioner may cause some, if not all, of the following issues:
– Poor air flow – dirt will build up inside the coils, filters and heat exchangers
– Clogged or slightly restricted drains – the drain trap on a furnace or condensate drain for the AC system will eventually clog or plug
– A component will stop working and you’ll be left with no heat or no cooling
– Your utility bills may go up as a result of poor heat transfer, poor airflow or both
– You may prematurely lose a blower motor or expensive part

 

Top components and items that ought to be inspected annually with your heating or cooling system to ensure proper operation and safety!
– The heat exchangers – often times a failure can be found during routine maintenance and while the unit still has warranty coverage
– Static duct pressures – this is the main reading or test that will determine correct airflow
– Temperature rise on the heat exchanger
– Temperature drop across the evaporator coil
– Filter and duct cleanliness
– Amp readings on all load controls, motors and compressors
– Capacitor tolerances
– Contactor contact condition
– Drain lines and drain traps
– Batteries in thermostats
– Ohms readings on ignitors
– Gas pressures
– Gas leak check gas piping
– Refrigerant charge, superheat and sub cooling readings
– Inspect flame and burner operation
– Carbon monoxide and complete combustion analysis

The correct way to properly maintain and service a furnace:

The best furnace tune up is the one that is done by a real professional that is highly skilled and trained. These techs are a rare breed and are developed by companies that use a proactive approach to training and education.

All furnace safety inspections and tune ups must include the following test procedures regardless of what I listed above. These are ABSOLUTE MUSTS and cannot be overlooked.

– Combustion analysis
– Carbon monoxide checks
– Gas leak checks
– Heat Exchanger full evaluation and inspection
– Static duct pressure test of the duct system
– Operational check
– Complete safety check

A proper furnace safety inspection or tune up will cost upwards of $320. I’ve seen this work done properly for as low as $159, rarely less than that. AVOID at all costs the tune up that is too good to be true. There are companies out there scamming people and tricking them with a $39, $59 and $99 tune up. I noticed yesterday at one of our Big Box retailers with an orange logo, was offering a furnace tune up for $99. That’s IMPOSSIBLE! The only way any company can perform a proper tune up for $99 is if they are willing to lose money. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t know of any businesses that wants to lose money before they even show up to your home.
In closing, yes, furnace and air conditioner tune ups and maintenance do save you time, money and hassles. However, they must be performed by the right company, with the right training, the right technicians and the right tools. In today’s HVAC work climate this is getting tougher and tougher to find.