Did you recently schedule your first furnace checkup? Whether you’re a new homeowner or you’re new to HVAC maintenance, take a look at some important questions to ask the technician before, during, and after your appointment.

What Does the Furnace Checkup Include?

The answer to this question depends on the contractor you work with and your heater. Some HVAC companies may only provide basic services, while others offer an expanded safety and function check or a specialized inspection. If you have a heat pump, attached whole-home humidifier/de-humidifier, or whole-home air purification system, you may need additional routine maintenance services.

In general, a furnace checkup should or could include:

  • Inspection. The technician should inspect the furnace and its components. They’ll look for signs of wear or damage. They may also inspect ducts, the filter, the thermostat, and other accessories (depending on the services the contractor offers).
  • Tests. A natural gas or carbon monoxide leak could put you or your family at risk. The HVAC technician should test the furnace for potential gas/carbon monoxide leaks and alert you to the results immediately.
  • Cleaning. Some companies also clean the components of the furnace. This service can increase efficiency and reduce the likelihood of extensive wear and tear or premature failure.
  • Lubrication. The moving parts of the motor may need additional lubrication to function at peak performance.

The technician should provide you with a breakdown of the services they provide, the estimated price, and any potential extra costs. Before the service begins, ask the technician to provide you with these and any other details you may need to better understand the checkup.

Does the Furnace Work Efficiently?

The technician can’t always answer this question before they inspect or evaluate your furnace. This question is one to ask during or immediately after the routine checkup.

Heating-related energy usage can account for up to 42 percent of your home’s utility bill costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. An inefficient furnace can add to this price and cost you money unnecessarily. As the technician checks your furnace they can:

  • Find worn parts. A worn furnace won’t function at peak performance. The technician can repair or replace worn parts to increase the unit’s efficiency.
  • Recommend replacement accessories. Along with the main part of the furnace, the thermostat can also impact the system’s efficiency. The technician can inspect the thermostat, make sure it works well, and replace it if needed.
  • Remove clogs. A clogged air filter or clogged ducts can reduce efficiency. The furnace will need to work harder just to force the air through clogs. If the technician finds debris or another obstruction, they can clean/replace the filter or clear the duct.

The AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) percentage identifies the unit’s energy efficiency. Old continuous pilot light furnaces typically have an AFUE between 56 and 70 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Newer high-efficiency models typically have an AFUE of 90 to 98 percent. If you have a low AFUE furnace, the technician can recommend a replacement.

Is There a Next Step?

After the checkup is complete, the technician should provide you with an invoice and the next steps to take — if any are needed. Next steps depend on your furnace and could include:

  • Nothing. If your furnace is in perfect or near-perfect working condition, it won’t need immediate repairs.
  • Additional routine maintenance. Even though your furnace may not need a repair, an older unit or one that easily accumulates debris (typically found in homes with pets, smokers, or other indoor air pollutants) may need a professional cleaning or filter service before the season ends.
  • Repairs. Did the technician find a problem with your furnace? You’ll either need a same-day repair or to schedule an appointment.

While you don’t need to schedule next year’s maintenance appointment now, the technician can give you a card or leave a sticker (depending on the company’s preference) on the furnace as a reminder.

Do you need a wintertime furnace checkup? Contact Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning for more information.