You hear it as the weather cools down every year: “get your furnace tuned up!”
But do you really need to do that? Does it save you any energy?
Do HVAC companies say this just to get in your door, find more problems, and make more money?
What do they check for anyway?
And is this something you can just do yourself?
All great, and totally valid, questions. Let’s take a further look and answer each.
1. There is No Industry Standard “Tune Up”
Getting a “tune up” in the fall means something different to every HVAC contractor.
If you find a special deal on Groupon for $30 – $50, that’s going to be a tune up that’s much different than paying $100 – $200 for one you search out on Google.
Every contractor has carefully worded language in their contract which covers what they do and do not check for.
It’s really incredibly difficult to compare what you get by company. You practically have to turn into a lawyer.
Make sure you ask each contractor exactly what they’ll do. Here’s an example of a thorough checklist.
2. Furnace Problems Are Rare
This is not an exaggeration. One person claims that, “We have never done so, over 40 odd years.”
And to top it off, they claim that they have not had one single problem that an inspection would have caught during that time.
Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an inspection done. In fact, that same person says it’s probably a good idea to do so every couple years or so.
Gas furnaces, in general, require little maintenance. If you have an oil furnace, however, they produce lots of particles as they burn the oil.
You need to have your oil furnace inspected and cleaned annually to keep it operating properly.
3. Manufacturers Void Warranties If Annual Inspections Aren’t Done
Not getting an annual inspection puts you at a little risk. Furnace manufacturers do require that you have annual inspections done to keep your warranty intact.
Cracks or leaks within your furnace can spew undetectable deadly gasses into your home.
And your furnace can last longer if you have annual inspections done.
4. Can You Tune Up Your Furnace Yourself?
Maybe. Honestly, inspecting your furnace is not the easiest thing to do yourself.
You can easily inspect and maintain your AC on your own, even if you don’t fancy yourself a handyman.
But your furnace is more complex. It has more parts that require proper inspection and maintenance.
We’re not saying that you can’t do it yourself. But we are saying it’s a little more challenging.
Overall, deciding whether to have that annual inspection done (or not) is your own decision.
You’re running some risk if you choose not to. But it’s not the end of the world if you don’t (unless you have an oil furnace).
So now it’s up to you to make the best decision for yourself and your family at this time.