How Often Should I Service My Furnace
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Blog 11/9/18

How Often Should I Service My Furnace

As part of their general gas safety tips, San Diego Gas & Electric recommends performing annual inspections on all gas appliances by a licensed professional. This includes the home heating system when it is operated by natural gas. But furnace inspections should also be done to maintain the system increasing performance, not just for safety.

Safety Inspections

Scheduling a preseason furnace and cleaning maintenance service is the best way for homeowners to protect their family and ensure the safe operation of their heating system. During all tune-ups, professional heating techs will perform a full safety inspection checking for potential hazards such as carbon monoxide leaks, cracked or damaged heat exchanger(s), and improper venting.

Natural gas safety should be considered for any household operating gas appliances. If homeowners do not already have carbon monoxide detectors installed in their home, heating professionals will make the preconditions and can assist in where to have them installed. It is even California law that every household with a natural gas appliance in operation that they have to have detectors in a specific location and checked annually.

Why Perform Annual Furnace Maintenance?

Maintaining and servicing a homes’ furnace goes hand in hand with an annual safety inspection and can even be performed by the same professional, homeowners’ local heating specialist. Properly maintained furnaces will increase the performance of the heating system and keep homeowner’s safe. Furnace maintenance should be performed annually, with some home tips that can be performed on a more regular basis, preferably in the fall months before the cold winter nights. Proper annual furnace maintenance also keeps warranties valid form the manufacturer.  

One question homeowner sometimes asks, according to Fox Business, what do HVAC professionals actually do during a tune-up and safety inspection? 

Furnace Tune-up Services

All tune-ups should include safety checks and adjustments, but maintenance also includes services that will increase the furnace efficiency for optimal function.

Vents & Airflow

During a furnace tune-up, heating specialists will ensure that it is safely and properly vented. They will also check for leaks, blockages, and proper airflow. If the air coming from registers is not optimal, it could indicate dirty filters or other issues that keep the system from working properly.

Heat Exchanger

Signs that a system may need to be replaced are corrosion or cracks on the heat exchanger. During annual inspections, damaged heat exchangers can be identified for safety and functionality.


Annual tune-ups include cleaning a furnace systems’ burners. Dirty burners can affect the flames and cause safety issues as well as poor system performance. A tune-up will also include checking the flame sensor and ignition for safe operation.

Mechanical Components

Just like vehicles, a furnace has moving parts that need to be lubricated to reduce friction. When friction occurs during operation, it can be a fire hazard and cause the motor(s) to work harder using more energy. Permanent failure can result from a poorly maintained motor and moving parts.

Electrical Connections

Some common causes of system failure include shorted connections or damaged wires. During the annual inspection, heating professionals will check all wiring and electrical components for damage and function. Luckily, when an electrical component does fail or damaged wires are found, the repair can be easily made in most cases.


Testing the amperage draw on the blower motor is important for safety and function of the blower. Heating technicians will test and adjust the amperage to a unit’s specifications and settings and can enhance the life of the furnace.


Bill Howe Heating & Air recommends homeowners regularly change their system’s filter, or clean it if it is a reusable filter, but during a tune-up, most times a free filter replacement is included. If the system uses a high efficacity or specially rated filter, an additional charge for the filter will be added. Filters are important to maintain an efficient system. Dirty or clogged filters can result in system failure. A general rule is to change the filters quarterly, or more often for homes with pets or high dust and debris, such as homes near busy roadways or in cities.


Annual inspections and tune-ups by qualified heating technicians should include testing the thermostat functionality. If a homeowner still has a manual thermostat, a tune-up is a perfect time to upgrade to a smart thermostat. Heating technicians will also walk through thermostat operations, and advise homeowners of the best temperatures to set during the winter and how to program a smart thermostat to achieve the highest efficiency and comfort during cold damp nights and days.

Homeowners can also ensure the safety and efficiency of their furnace by keeping the system clear of obstruction, regular filter checks, and keeping the system clean from dust and debris. Scheduling a preseason tune-up is easy through Bill Howe Heating & Air; Special Energy Savings Agreements are also available to take the guesswork out of the equation while helping homeowners to save money. Heating specialists will alert homeowners when the system is due for a tune-up and schedule before the cold and busy seasons begin, ensuring a clean, safe, and properly functioning furnace to keep homeowners warm throughout the winter.

An added benefit of scheduling tune-ups before the furnace is even needed? If potential issues are found during the tune-up, in most cases a furnace specialist can make the repairs during the same visit getting the furnace winter ready.

Also, by identifying possible issues with the furnace annually, homeowners can avoid costly repairs and even extend the life of their system. Knowing that when they need it, the furnace will be in top shape and safely operating offers peace of mind to focus on family during the holiday season and not need to call a professional for major and costly repairs.

Call Bill Howe Heating & Air for your annual tune-up and safety inspection today! Call 1-800 BILL HOWE (245-5469) or schedule your appointment online!


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