Furnace Tune Up: When is it Time to Call in a Pro?

It varies, here's why.

furnace tune up, furnace tune up costFamily Handyman

Well, the short, standard answer is once a year. But next time the HVAC tech is there, ask if that’s really necessary. It could be that you have a newer furnace, your home is very clean, you have no pets, or your furnace and A/C aren’t used all that much because you live in a temperate climate. You could possibly go two or three years between furnace maintenance.

What does a furnace tune up consist of?

  • Cleaning components like the heat exchanger, combustion chamber, burners, jets, blower motor and fan, among other things.
  • Checking and clearing the condensate lines. These lines drain not only water generated from gas combustion, they also drain condensation that collects on the A/C coil above the furnace.
  • Doing a temperature differential test. That means measuring the temperature of the air going into and leaving the furnace.
  • Performing a combustion analysis of the exhaust checking levels of O2, C/O and C/O2.
  • Checking the ignitor and flame sensor for wear.

How much does a furnace tune up cost?

You should expect to pay anywhere between $90 to $150 for the cost of a furnace tune up performed by a reputable HVAC company. Beware of $50 furnace service “specials.” They often lead to fishing expeditions where the technician finds often expensive and sometimes unnecessary repairs to perform or upgrades to add.

Choosing the right furnace filter

While the technician is there, ask for advice on which filter you should be using. Depending on your lifestyle, health issues, furnace style and a few other factors, it could be that you’re using a filter that is too fine for the furnace to operate efficiently or too porous and isn’t doing a good job of filtering the air to the furnace and your home.

If you’re interested in getting a smart home thermostat, you could have the technician install it while they’re already at your house. That way, you won’t have to pay for a separate service call. Just be sure to mention that when you call for the tune up, so they have the thermostat with them when they show up.

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