Is It Too Late in the Season to Get My Commercial Furnace Serviced?

Commercial Furnance Filter Replacement Vito Services 641x426 1

No – it's never too late to schedule commercial HVAC service. Your furnace may still have months of work left to do this year – plus there's always next fall and winter to think about.


Every furnace, whether it's gas or electric, should undergo regular annual maintenance for the sake of performance and safety.

Modern gas furnaces are extraordinarily efficient and have fuel loss rates that were essentially unimaginable 20 or 30 years ago. That doesn't mean leaks and soot buildup can't still happen. You should always have working CO detectors in your home or business to detect leaks if you have gas appliances, but getting maintenance performed can catch potential future leaks before they become alarm-raising emergencies.

Skilled commercial HVAC professionals who know the early leak warning signs can identify these dangers and make sure they're fixed before they disrupt your business or result in injuries.

During commercial furnace maintenance your HVAC technician will perform a variety of safety and efficiency related checks, including:

  • Proper venting of ductwork
  • Inspection of heat exchanger and combustion chamber for cracks (some of which may be so small they don't appear with visual inspection of the naked eye)
  • Ensure there's an adequate fresh air supply to maintain adequate oxygen levels

Some commercial gas furnaces can also create dangerous soot buildup, which needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid fires.

It's never too late in the heating season to get those types of safety issues addressed.


Any 20-year-old furnace, whether it's in a home, apartment complex or commercial building, is likely missing the mark on efficiency. This isn't ideal in a home, where homeowners may be spending hundreds more on heating than needed and getting suboptimal performance. The unnecessary cost can be amplified exponentially when an old, inefficient furnace is heating a large commercial building.

Regularly scheduled furnace maintenance may be able to improve or at least maintain efficiency, but there's only so much HVAC maintenance can do.

It wasn't uncommon for furnaces installed in 1990 to have Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings of about 65 percent. The modern minimum legally required for furnaces today in the United States is 80 percent, but even that's not great compared to many of the 97 percent efficiency furnaces currently on the market.

If your gas heating bill is $500 a month and your current furnace has an AFUE rating of 65 percent, upgrading to a 97 percent efficiency furnace would save you roughly $160 a month. You can do the math for your own furnace based on your heating costs, but chances are you could be saving a lot by upgrading an old, inefficient commercial furnace – plus you can rest easier knowing dangerous furnace malfunctions are less likely to occur.


Gas commercial furnaces are complex, often large pieces of equipment. They're more dangerous than air conditioners or electric furnaces due to the fuel they use, soot buildup and the heightened fire risk. Performing maintenance on these furnaces is a detail-oriented task that needs to be done with the utmost care and caution.

A commercial furnace maintenance professional should:

  • Turn off the gas (or the power for electric furnaces) before doing anything
  • Clean the furnace's exterior
  • Remove the burner cover and vacuum out the burner and furnace base
  • Check for soot, which may be indicative of inefficient combustion (and energy loss)
  • Take out and clean the blower (this is a delicate job – uneven or rough cleaning can throw off the counterweights on the fan blades and put it off balance)
  • Gently clean the hot surface igniter or pilot light to prevent damage to this fragile part
  • Clean the flame sensor (dirty flame sensors may cause furnace lighting failures)
  • Check the drive belts for cracking, fraying or wear and adequate tension
  • Apply just the right amount of lubrication
  • Clean oil caps
  • Turn the gas or power back on
  • Check the burners are working properly (even and blue flame = good, yellow flame = dirty burners)
  • Make sure duct dampers are adjusted properly for the season (if the same ducts are used for both cooling and heating)

Performing proper commercial furnace maintenance can be a complicated process that requires finesse and an eye for detail. The quality of your maintenance can have a significant impact on the safety of your building and your energy costs, which is why it's good to work with a Washington D.C. area professional that knows their stuff.

At Vito Services we're committed to being the reliable partner businesses in the DMV can trust for reliable commercial furnace and cooling maintenance and repair – all year long. It's never too late to make sure your furnace is operating safely and efficiency.

Give us a call at 301-315-6100 to schedule your service or to request a free furnace replacement estimate.

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