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Consumer tip: National Tune-Up Day coming; perfect time to schedule your annual furnace check-up

By Ryan Houlehan
Special to NKyTribune

September 25 is National Tune-Up Day, which means it’s the perfect time to be proactive and schedule an annual inspection for your furnace now that summer is winding down. Regular HVAC maintenance not only helps keep your unit operating effectively and efficiently, it also ensures your family is healthy, safe and comfortable through the cold winter months.

Being a little proactive about regular maintenance can go a long way toward avoiding the most common issues with furnaces while also ensuring your unit remains within warranty.

Ryan Houlehan

With that in mind, here are three reasons you should show your home some love on National Tune-Up Day this year:

1. Increase energy efficiency and safety.  Dust and dirt builds up on the neglected parts of your furnace, forcing the unit to work harder to heat your house. During an annual tune-up, a technician cleans and maintains your furnace to assure it works properly and is operating at maximum efficiency.

They also conduct a thorough cleaning of the various parts of your furnace. Technicians will remove rust and dirt from burners, which can help prevent gas from getting trapped in these areas to create hot spots on your furnace’s heat exchanger. They’ll also check heat exchanges to ensure they aren’t cracked, which can lead to carbon monoxide leaks.

2. Improve indoor air quality.
Humidity is directly correlated with comfort and temperatures in the home. In the winter, dry heat from your furnace is being pushed into your home. Nosebleeds, dry skin, excess static in the air, increased allergy symptoms, and dried out or warped woodwork are just a few symptoms that may indicate the humidity levels are off in your home.

Technicians can check the humidity levels in your home to make recommendations on how to improve them. For example, leveraging a whole-home humidifier adds moisture to the air, which increases the temperature in the space. Not only does it make the home more comfortable, it also means temperatures on thermostats can be turned down a bit, saving on energy costs.

While Energy Star recommends changing your air filter once a month, at the minimum they should be changed every three months while in heavy use. Doing this helps extend the life of your furnace and keeps air clean of common allergens like dust, dander and mold. During a tune-up, technicians also clean out or replace your air filter, improving the overall air quality in your home.

If you have family members who suffer from severe asthma and allergies, you may also want to consider asking your technician about other ways to improve the air quality in your home. For example, whole-home air purifiers leverage advanced UV light technologies to help remove airborne bacteria and germs as well as the allergens mentioned above. There are also stand-alone units available online or at local retailers that can help keep the air in specific rooms where these family members spend a majority of their time cleaner.

3. Prolong the life of your unit and help maintain your warranty.  Scheduling regular, proactive tune-ups twice a year for your furnace can help you avoid a costly breakdown on the first cold day of the year. Skilled technicians can help identify small problems that — if ignored — can lead to much larger, costly repairs or even the need to replace the unit altogether.

Many warranties from heating and air conditioning manufacturers require customers to perform regular maintenance in order to keep warranties valid. If your unit goes out, there is a chance that a manufacturer may require you to share maintenance records before covering the cost to repair your unit.

Much like you would do with a car, it is critical to be proactive about maintaining your furnace so that it can continue operating effectively. While National Tune-Up only happens once a year, it serves as a great reminder about the importance of regular maintenance for your home all year long. As fall approaches, scheduling a tune-up can help you proactively ensure that it continues to keep your home warm and your family safe and comfortable through the colder months.

Ryan Houlehan is a Customer Experience Manager with Arlinghaus Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning

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