Are Annual Heating Tune-ups Really Necessary?
Fall is here and you know what that means - only a few short months before the mad holiday rush. Working, shopping, cooking, attending and hosting parties. On top of everything you have to do, you also have to deal with Old Man Winter. A daytime high of 60-degrees may trigger the thought: “Should I turn on my heating system now?” Many of us put off turning on our heaters before October because running your heating system is not cheap, no matter what type of system you have. (Besides, who doesn’t hope for a few more days of warm weather?). As the temperature drops, you might find yourself asking the perennial question, “Do I need to give my heating system an annual tune-up?”
What is an Annual Heating Tune-up?
To help you decide if a tune-up is necessary, let’s look at what happens when one is performed. In an annual heating tune-up, a qualified technician fully inspects your system for safety and inefficiencies. After the inspection, they will perform any basic maintenance that is necessary to ensure your heating system is working optimally.
Here are some things the technician will check:
- Proper airflow
- Carbon monoxide emission
- Gas leaks from the gas valve, lines and connections (which can potentially lead to carbon monoxide poisoning)
- System inefficiencies
- Pilot/pilot sensor, filters and belts
- Wiring and electrical connections
- Visible ductwork, flue pipe and filter
These checks are meant to nip potential issues in the bud. By having an annual tune-up in the fall, you can catch small issues now, instead of experiencing bigger problems in the dead of winter. This can save you time, money, and prevent you from freezing your buns off.
If your heating system is out-of-warranty, then it’s even more important to prevent it from going kerplunk in the middle of winter (unless you have a big stash of cash set aside for emergencies). According to our last survey, heating system issues are a surprise expenditure families often can’t afford with 20 percent reporting they have no emergency savings at all.
For some newer systems, you probably can get by without a tune-up. Your warranty, however, may require annual tune-ups to keep the warranty valid. Therefore, it’s a good idea to abide by your manufacturer’s warranty guidelines. You don’t want to end up with an issue and then find out that your warranty is invalid because you skipped this year’s mandatory tune-up.
In the end, it’s better to be safe than sorry. No one wants to be left in the cold, without heat and with frozen pipes while seeing your own breath INSIDE your own home in February!
Here’s a tip: Check the rest of your heating system to ensure you’re not losing hot air through any of the ductwork. Feel around your windows for cool air coming in and take the time now to put up rubber weather sealing tape or window insulation film to keep the warm air inside of your home. By taking care of your heating system in its entirety, you can save money on your heating bill this winter.