As the leaves begin to turn colors and the sweaters come out of storage, you may be trying to hold off on firing up the furnace to save money. It’s one of the mildest times of the year throughout much of North America, after all. But this window of just-right weather is good for more than just savings -- it’s also your last chance to get your furnace tuned-up for winter.

Your furnace might be ol’ faithful, but if you’re not giving it regular maintenance, don’t expect that to last. Just like your car needs the occasional oil change, your furnace needs a thorough inspection, cleaning and adjustment once per year.

An Ounce of Prevention

One of the smartest reasons to tune-up your furnace is that it gives a trained HVAC technician the opportunity to find and fix small problems before they progress into big ones. There are all sorts of early warning signs that are only detectable to the trained eye, and many of those won’t immediately present themselves to homeowners in the form of noises, odors or poor heating performance.

A multi-point inspection is almost always included with a furnace tune-up, but it’s a good idea to confirm with your technician the exact checklist of steps included in your service.

Squeaky Clean

Dust particles seem to get everywhere, and that includes the inside of your furnace. If dust is allowed to build up significantly, it can easily begin to diminish the energy efficiency of your heating elements and can even help cause problems that will lead to replacing parts.

As your HVAC technician moves through all the steps of the tune-up, he’ll clean as he goes, making sure your furnace has a clean start before the long winter.

Safety, Safety, Safety

While rare, furnaces can develop problems that present a danger to people in the home. The two most common types of problems are fire hazards and carbon monoxide leaks. Both of these can be deadly, and both frequently begin as small problems that can be easily detected in the course of a tune-up.

Even if your furnace is running well and you think you can get through one more winter without maintaining it, consider getting it checked out for safety’s sake, if nothing else.

Your Permanent Record

When your technician is done taking readings, lubricating parts, changing filters, vacuuming dust and making small repairs, he should present you with a full report on your furnace’s performance, condition and long-term maintenance needs. Having this written record every year will make it easy to monitor your furnace over time and make informed decisions about when to upgrade to a newer, more energy-efficient model.

It’s also a great thing to have in the event you put your home up for sale. Prospective buyers will appreciate your diligent maintenance and record-keeping, which can be a huge influencing factor in favor of a sale.

The cold weather is coming, so this is a very busy time of year for furnace tune-ups. Schedule your tune-up today with your local HVAC experts to make sure you’re ready to go before the first chilly night!

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