You don’t want to wake up on a cold winter morning to the feeling of cold air blowing through your vents and a freezing floor. Stay ahead of the game and take the time to do some furnace maintenance this Fall. Just a little bit of regular furnace maintenance can go a long way toward keeping your home comfortably heated. PLUS it will also help keep your energy bills down. SCORE! Here are a few easy-to-do furnace maintenance procedures.
First things first — make sure you turn the power off! Next, remove the combustion chamber door and burner cover. Now inspect the burner flames by slowly turning things back on and cranking up the thermostat.
Check how even the flames are and that they are burning blue. A furnace flame should always be blue — if it is not something is wrong.
Clean the Burners
Once everything is off again (including the gas), vacuum the burners to clean them out. Don’t forget to vacuum the furnace base too.
Get everywhere you see dust. Places like these often are dust magnets so vacuum away!
Clean the Blower
The next step is to remove and clean the blower. There may be a control panel in front, but it can easily be loosened and removed.
To clean the blower, use a vacuum and a small brush — and finish the job completely. Never do half the job. If you can’t clean everything out, don’t do it at all because a weight imbalance could cause problems. Get a professional instead.
Change Your Filters
The most common cause of furnace problems is a dirty filter. Check these monthly in the winter and change them every one to three months depending on your filter size.
Make Sure the Pilot is Clean
Finally, clean out the pilot by blowing dust out with a straw. I would probably steer clear from compressed air. It just makes me nervous thinking about it.
Instead, use an emery cloth to clean the surface of the flame sensor, and just lightly dust the hot surface igniters.
When to Call a Technician for Furnace Maintenance
Even if you’ve taken these steps to check on your furnace, you may still need additional furnace maintenance. Here’s when it’s time to forget about DIYing it and call a furnace technician to your home instead:
- Short cycling. Your furnace only runs for 3 minutes or less and shuts off. The thermostat may need to be adjusted or your heat exchanger is overheating and turning off to stop damage from occurring.
- Rumbling noises. Central air heating should not make odd noises or rumbles.
- Uneven flames. If your burner is running properly, it should have even flames. Uneven flames are a sign of dirt in the burners or of a cracked heat exchanger — and this should be fixed ASAP.
- You feel ill. If you are experiencing headaches or flu-like symptoms chronically, there could be a gas leak or carbon monoxide leak. It may be low enough that your carbon monoxide alarm isn’t triggered, but it is still VERY dangerous.
That’s why it’s a good idea to do your furnace maintenance in the Fall before things get too cold. Stay safe and keep cozy this winter with proper furnace maintenance!