When you’re a homeowner, there’s always something that needs to be done. From daily dishwashing to weekly vacuuming to spring housecleaning to summer lawn mowing to fall leaf raking to winter snow shoveling, the list goes on and on. But where’s your annual HVAC tune-up on that list?
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think about your HVAC system very much. You turn on your furnace in late fall, you turn on your AC in early summer, and that’s that. Well, not exactly.
HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning and is your interconnected heating and cooling system that keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It has many component parts and as with any sophisticated mechanical system, it needs routine maintenance to keep it operating at peak efficiency.
Fall Furnace Tune-up
Energy Star recommends that you get your furnace checked out by an HVAC professional each fall before you turn it on for the first time. Since winter and summer are the busiest seasons for heating and air conditioning companies, scheduling your furnace tune-up in the fall gives you the best chance of having your furnace in tip-top shape before you actually need it.
Your furnace professional will thoroughly check your furnace, including the following:
- Gas or oil connections
- Fuel lines
- Burner combustion
- Gas pressure
- Heat exchanger
- Exhaust outlets
Loose, leaking, or malfunctioning fuel lines and connections not only are fire hazards, but also health hazards. If your exhaust outlets such as your chimney flue and vent stack have become corroded or have begun to leak or backdraft, this could lead to carbon monoxide and other gases building up. The last thing you need is for your family to be inhaling dangerous gases and fumes, especially when your house is closed up for the winter with no open windows.
If your pilot light mechanism is malfunctioning, your furnace’s efficiency can be drastically reduced; it may not even come on when it’s supposed to. Likewise, a cracked heat exchanger or dirty burner poses a safety hazard and also can lead to inefficient operation.
You will reap many benefits from a fall seasonal tune-up. Chief among them is lower energy bills. Your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard when it’s running at top efficiency. Less work means less energy consumption, and that means lower heating bills.
Have you ever noticed that when you turn on your furnace for the first time each winter you can smell it? What you’re smelling could be something as simple as accumulated dust burning off or as serious as an overheating furnace motor or cracked heat exchanger.
After your furnace has been sitting idle during the summer months, or even since early spring depending on the area of the country in which you live, turning it back on puts an initial strain on it that often causes a breakdown. That’s why fall is a great time to get it tuned up. Your furnace professional can catch any problems or potential problems before they become emergencies.
Not surprisingly, older furnaces are especially at risk for malfunctions. It just makes sense that the older your furnace, the more likely it is to need preventative maintenance and possibly replacement of one or more of its component parts. It also makes good dollars and cents to get your furnace tuned up each fall. Catching problems while they’re small can add years of life to not only your furnace but also your entire HVAC system.
Last but not least is the matter of your family’s comfort during the winter. Who wants to “freeze to death” all winter long while bundled up in heavy sweaters, sweatshirts, socks, maybe even thermal underwear? A fall seasonal tune-up can prevent such dilemmas and keep your home warm and cozy.