What’s Involved in a Professional Furnace Tune-Up?

Just like that, it is finally starting to feel like fall here in Sacramento! We were wondering if it was ever going to cool down! After a long, hot summer, it is time to fire up your furnace. For most of us, our furnace has not been touched since the spring, so it is important that they are prepared for the cold months ahead.

You might be wondering: Do I really need all this maintenance on my furnace?

Well, we’re here to tell you the answer is yes. Regularly maintaining your HVAC system is essential. Tune-ups not only help prolong the life of your system, but they also help detect small problems before they turn into big, costly repairs.  At Bell Brothers we recommend getting a tune-up twice a year; once in the spring/summer and once in the fall/winter.

A common question we get from our customers is, What’s involved in a professional furnace tune-up? Our furnace tune-up is a 30-point inspection of your system. During the tune-up, your technician will inspect 30 different things in your furnace. We go above and beyond to make sure your furnace is in tip-top shape!

Let us break this down for you! We are going to highlight some of the key aspects of our furnace tune-up:

Check/Clean Flame Sensor

In gas furnaces, the flame sensor is the part that knows when the gas valve is open and a flame is present. If the flame sensor doesn’t register that a flame is present, it shuts the furnace off. If you have your heated turned way up, but your heater isn’t kicking on, a dirty flame sensor could be the culprit. During our furnace tune-up, we check to make sure that the flame sensor is clean, and we clean it if we find that’s it’s dirty.

Check and Monitor Indoor Blower Motor Amps

The blower motor is the part of the furnace that pushes the heated air out through your ductwork to warm your home. The amps on the blower motor are electrical charges that power it. The more the merrier, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes the blower motor can get over-amped and cause your furnace to short circuit. We check on this for you during our furnace tune-up. The tune-up also includes lubrication for the indoor blower motor to make sure it’s up to par.

Check and Monitor Inducer Motor Amps

The inducer motor is what pulls cold air into your furnace in order for it to warm it up. Without this vital part, your furnace would have nothing to work with. Just as with the blower motor, the inducer motor needs electrical charge in order to work, so we have to check and make sure that it’s getting the correct amp level.

Check Blower Wheel for Even Run

The blower wheel is what enables the warm air to circulate through your home (while, if you’ll recall, the blower motor simply pushes the warm air out into the ductwork). If the blower wheel doesn’t run evenly, then you’ll end up with cold spots in your home. We check the blower wheel to make sure it’s running evenly. If not, we clean the blower wheel compartment for you!

Check Burners for Proper Burn

What's Involved in a Professional Furnace Tune-Up

In gas furnaces, the burner is the part that warms the cold air brought into the furnace, using gas. Without a working burner, your furnace could pull in and blow out all the air it wants to, but it won’t be warm! We can fix that before you, but first we have to inspect the burner to ensure it is burning properly. We’ll even clean the burners and orifices for you!

Check Capacitor(s)

The capacitor in your furnace is what makes your fan motor work. If you have a start capacitor, then the capacitor’s job is to make the fan motor start. If you have a run capacitor, then the capacitor provides a constant supply of electricity to keep the fan motor running. Whichever kind of capacitor you have, we’ll check it to make sure it’s working properly.

Check Electric Wiring

Electrical wiring is a key component to your furnace. All the bells and whistles can be all systems go, but if your electrical wiring is faulty, then nothing is going to work for you. If the wires are just frayed, your furnace may still work—but you may also have a fire hazard on your hands. Let us make sure that your electrical wiring is presenting the way it should.

Check for Gas Leaks within 10 Feet of the Equipment

The portion right here is the reason it’s important to hire a licensed, trained HVAC professional to inspect your furnace, instead of trying to DIY it. Gas furnaces can help you save on electricity, but they can also be a fire hazard or cause gas leaks. We check for leaks within 10 feet of your furnace so you can rest assured that you, your family, and your home are safe.

Check for Proper Air Flow

A variety of issues can spring up in a furnace. For example, your furnace could be heating the incoming air just fine, but it could be blowing it out so softly that it’s not reaching even the most high-traffic areas of your home. We make sure the air flow is working properly when we do a furnace tune-up for you.

Check High Voltage Connections

This goes back to our comments about amps: Electricity is an essential factor in getting your furnace to work, but you have to make sure that the voltage is working at the right level. We check your high voltage connections during our furnace tune-up process, so you won’t have to worry about suffering through chilly nights this winter.

Check Hot Surface Igniter or Pilot Light

What's Involved in a Professional Furnace Tune-Up

In a gas furnace, the pilot light is, arguably, the most important part. It’s the part that ignites the flame that heats your air. Without this flame, the burner couldn’t work—and neither, obviously, could the flame sensor. We’ll make sure your hot surface igniter or pilot light is working the way it should.

Check for Low Voltage Connections

Just as we check for high voltage connections, we do the same for low voltage connections. We inspect your furnace high and low for any issues, present or future.

Check Pressure Switch

The pressure switch is the part that switches your furnace off if it doesn’t sense the correct venting air pressures. If your pressure switch isn’t working, it could mean there’s a problem with your inducer motor, that there are leaks around assemblies in the furnace, that the condensate drainage is clogged, or other issues. We’ll check on that for you!

Check Safety Devices

Because your furnace deals with certain potential fire hazards, like gas or electricity, there are a number of safety devices put in place. Those safety devices include the pressure switch and flame sensors (we’ve mentioned them above), but also the limit switch, thermocouple, safety pan, and safety shut off valve. We also perform a general safety inspection on your furnace’s heat exchanger and faceplate.

Check Temperature Rise

Our professional HVAC technicians make sure that the temperature in your home is running at the desired level. If not, we check your thermostat for proper operation, to see if that could be the source of your problem.

Inspect/Clean Air Filter

What's Involved in a Professional Furnace Tune-Up

During your 30-point inspection we clean and replace your air filter. While we’re taking care of this for you, we can see what kind of debris you have. If there’s more debris than normal, one of two things is happening: one, you’re not replacing your air filter as often as you should be, or two, your ductwork is clogged with dirt and debris.

Inspect Ductwork for Leaks

The ductwork is the tunnel system that enables your newly warmed air to travel from room to room. If there are air leaks in your ductwork, then your home isn’t getting as warm as it could be, or it isn’t being warmed as efficiently, at the very least. If a leak is detected during the inspection, our experts will walk you through solutions.

We also perform a number of other inspections and services during our furnace tune-up, such as:

  • Inspect Plenum or Distribution Box
  • Inspect Evaporator Coil
  • Measure Static Pressure Return
  • Measure Static Pressure Supply
  • Inspect Evaporator Pan
  • Inspect Exhaust Flue for Proper Fit and Venting
  • Set Gas Valve Pressure
  • Inspect Furnace Compartment

Now  you know what’s involved in a professional furnace tune-up! For a full list of our 30-point tune-up inspection or to book your tune-up, give Bell Brothers a call! We want to make sure your furnace is ready to keep you and your family cozy all season long!