The last thing you want to worry about when the weather takes a turn toward winter is a furnace maintenance !
A dirty furnace that circulates dust around your home is less efficient and more expensive to run. Your furnace should be cleaned and inspected before its first turned on. This gives a chance to identify any problems beforehand, so you won’t have any surprises when winter arrives.
Here are a few simple ways to keep your furnace running smoothly.
What you will need:
- A vacuum
- A brush
- Furnace filter
- A screwdriver
When working on your furnace always shut off the power and close the gas valve.
Step 1: Replace the filter
Clean filters allow air to circulate through your furnace efficiently and prolong the life of your system. This will also help improve the overall indoor air quality in your home. And, most importantly, for proper furnace maintenance, furnace filter changes can reduce your energy bill by almost 10 percent as well.
Over time a buildup of dust on the filter will restrict the airflow, reducing the efficiency of the furnace. If the airflow is reduced too much, the heat exchanger can actually overheat. This is why it’s essential to replace the furnace filter every three to six months. The filter is located on the cold air return duct. In most furnaces, the disposable filter will have a cardboard frame and should be replaced. in some models, it can be vacuumed or washed, but first, check your furnace manual. If you don’t see any numbers on your filter, then stand the filter upright and measure the height, width, and thickness after you selected the filter type and size, then select the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating. As long as you match the right size filter and the MERV rating, general filters will perform identically to OEM filters.
Step 2: Clean and inspect
Dirt and dust can thwart the performance of your furnace, therefore frequent cleaning should be part of your annual maintenance. Although you can clean around your unit easily, be careful if you want to clean the inside of your furnace yourself.
Remove the top cover panel. Many furnaces use a push-lock or twist-lock but some furnaces or require a screwdriver or socket wrench. Now use the shop-vac to clean the inside. A clean toothbrush can be used for any hard-to-reach place.
The heat exchanger could be releasing carbon monoxide into your home. So if you have access to the heat exchanger look for any cracks or deformities If you see any, call a professional.
Although Look at the burner assembly. if you see any scorch marks or burnt wires, this is a strong sign that the flames are rolling out the front of the burner and a professional should fix this problem.
Step 3: Clean the blower
The blower fan pushes air over the heat exchanger, it circulates around your home. Dust can collect on the fan blades so it’s best to clean them too. You can do these 8 steps one by one:
- Remove the blower cover panel. Sheet metal can have sharp edges so be careful.
- Unscrew the mounting screws.
- Now disconnect the motor wires. Unscrew and set the control board off to the side.
- slide the blower assembly out.
- Use a brush to clean the blower wheel and vacuum the assembly.
- Align the rails and slide the blower assembly into place.
- Then secure the control board and reconnect the wires.
- Now tighten the mounting screws.
NOTE: It’s better to take a picture of your wires so you can reconnect them easily afterward.
Step 4: Reconnect the furnace
If the blower cover is open, make sure that the panel is properly aligned and secure. Now replace the upper cover, open the gas valve. Now you can turn on the power to your furnace. The furnace should be running normally. You might smell a little bit of dust. Normally, this doesn’t last long, but call a professional if the smell doesn’t go away.
If you decide to perform any other furnace maintenance tasks beyond basic filter changes, be sure you put safety first. Turn off the power to your furnace before you begin to protect yourself from getting injured. Consider calling a professional to help with any inspection, cleaning, tune-ups, or repairs that are more complicated or if you find it difficult to do it yourself.
Even if you can handle these items yourself, it’s a good idea to have one of our experts in Concord HVAC and Plumbing come annually and do a precise inspection and cleaning. It keeps your system’s manufacturer’s warranty intact, as most specific professional maintenance must be performed annually.