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Natural gas furnace maintenance:
How often should you get your furnace tuned up?

Petro expert adjusting some home services equipment

Experts recommend that your natural gas furnace be tuned up regularly, but just how often do you really need to get a tune up? In this article, we’ll tell you and provide some tips to keep your furnace operating at peak efficiency.

How often should you get your furnace tuned up?

To keep your natural gas furnace operating efficiently, you should have at least an annual tune up. Natural gas furnace preventative maintenance will help avoid operating problems. When issues are addressed early on, it’s more likely that they can be resolved with minimal cost. Worn out parts and clogged filters that happen over time can lead to more significant equipment failures.

All major furnace manufacturers strongly recommend an annual tune up by a qualified, insured, and trained technician staff. Failing to do so in many cases means voiding your manufacturer warranty, which could mean a total loss for your equipment if something goes wrong. In the grand scheme of things, the cost of an annual tune-up is well worth it as compared to the cost of replacing a furnace all together.

Do not try to do DIY gas furnace maintenance or tune-ups yourself. In addition to being dangerous, this may also violate the manufacturer’s warranty. Let properly trained and experienced technical staff perform all gas furnace preventative maintenance. Regardless of your DIY talent, trying DIY furnace maintenance is fraught with hazards and risks to your heating system—and yourself.

After your furnace tune up, ask your supplier for a maintenance contract for the heating season. Most heating system maintenance contracts are written on an annual basis, although late spring through summer you seldom need to crank up your furnace.

What happens during a natural gas furnace tune up?

Unfortunately, there is not an industry standard for a furnace tune up. Therefore, it is challenging to do an “apples-to-apples” comparison of pricing or services. Because “tune ups” from different companies vary greatly, it’s best to ask the company you’re considering what their technician will do exactly.

The following is a list of items in a complete tune-up for your natural gas furnace. If you find a company that includes these in a furnace tune-up—and their quoted cost is reasonable—schedule it with this company, as they will perform a total and complete furnace examination.

  • The techs should thoroughly check out your vent system.
    Your vents can develop blockage or leaks over the summer of non-use. You want the technicians to clear out blockages and/or seal any leaks.
  • The technicians should analyze and be sure the combustion gases meet manufacturer specs.
    You want your natural gas furnace to operate at its maximum efficiency, typically, at least, 85 percent or above. The composition of combustion gases is vital to gas furnace efficiency—and your family’s safety and comfort.
  • The techs need to check the blower door (for hot air heating systems, popular with natural gas furnaces) to ensure the access door makes a tight seal.
    You must guard against leaks or you will heat your basement, instead of your home. You need to have a tight seal to enable your furnace to operate correctly.
  • Be sure your fresh air intake grills are not suffering blockages.
    The technicians check out your fresh air louvers to be sure you have no blockage to clear out. You need to have fresh air intake grills free of blockages. Your qualified techs know how to clear blockages safely.
  • The technicians examine your furnace’s heat exchanger for signs of rust or corrosion.
    The heat exchanger needs to be free of rust and corrosion to do its job safely. Your techs will examine the heat exchanger to be sure it is not leaking dangerous carbon monoxide fumes. The furnace heat exchanger is necessary to heat your home safely.
  • The techs check out the burners for efficient ignition and sufficient burner flame.
  • They will check your system’s blower wheel, cleaning it if necessary.
  • All wiring should be examined for damage, as well as the filters, which need to be changed more frequently than at the annual tune up.

Ready to hire a professional?

Call local Petro Home Services today to schedule a natural gas furnace tune-up by a professional technician. Our pros are qualified, experienced, and will perform a complete tune up, so you won’t need to worry that your furnace will heat your home efficiently this coming winter. You’ll also learn about preventative maintenance and furnace service plans, so you’ll be comfortable in your home all winter long.