Furnace Tune Up Overview
This guide covers these furnace maintenance topics:
Furnace tune up checklist
Furnace tune up cost
How frequently a furnace should be maintained
Furnace tune up service agreement pros and cons
Furnace tune up scams
Furnace Tune Up: What and Why?
A furnace tune up or furnace basic maintenance includes cleaning
the furnace interior, inspecting all parts and providing additional
maintenance as needed.
The purpose of tuning up a furnace is to:
Optimize efficiency and performance
Check safety issues
Find and fix minor repairs before they cause major mechanical
A clean, well-maintained furnace will keep your home comfortable,
reduce energy costs and run safely.
Furnace Tune Up Checklist
What is done during a furnace tune-up?
Here’s the checklist and purpose for each step:
Inspect the flue for a tight connection: Before starting the
furnace, the technician should take a look to make sure combustion
exhaust gases including carbon monoxide will leave through the flue
rather than leak.
Check and clean or change a dirty filter: A dirty filter makes the
furnace work too hard, wastes energy and can cause mechanical
Start the furnace: This is done to check basic operation make sure
the draft motor starts, the burner fires and the blower comes on
and sounds like it is running properly.
Clean the furnace interior: This step includes vacuuming out debris
and using cleaner and a cloth to clean the burners and pilot
assembly or hot surface igniter. The blower motor and its cage”
will also be cleaned.
The igniter will often be cleaned with emery cloth or sandpaper to
remove carbon and improve performance.
Test the ignitor: Over time, an igniter will wear out. As it does,
less charge gets through it. Eventually, it won’t work. This video
discusses this important step and shows how you can do this
Adjust the pilot: Few furnaces still have pilots. If yours does,
the technician will adjust it to optimal height.
Adjust the burners: This important step ensures the burners are
burning at maximum efficiency.
Check and adjust the gas pressure and the air mix: This ensures
safety and the cleanest burning of the burners.
Check electrical components: A range of parts are inspected and
tested Thermostat contacts, safety switches, limit control which
prevents overheating, fan control and wiring.
Maintain blower assembly: The motor will be checked and lubricated,
if needed. Blower speed might be adjusted to optimize airflow. The
wheel will be cleaned and inspected.
Inspect visible ducts for leaks: Leaking ducts waste up to 30% of
the heat created.
Clean an indoor coil: If your furnace contains an AC coil, it will
be cleaned and inspected for leaks. See our AC Tune Up Guide for
Inspect the heat exchanger: Air from your ductwork flows over the
heat exchangers to be heated and dispersed in your home. A cracked
heat exchanger will leak deadly carbon monoxide into your home. It
usually means furnace replacement.
The #1 furnace scam involves the heat exchanger. See details below.
Start the furnace again: After the furnace tune up, the tech will
fire the furnace again to make sure it runs as it should.
The technician might write up a report to show what was checked,
its condition and the maintenance that was done.
The report might also suggest repairs or possibly furnace
replacement. More on this topic below.