A Practical Guide to Gas Furnace Maintenance This Fall
The leaves are falling and you should be preparing for winter. Check out this practical guide to gas furnace maintenance this fall.
Keyword(s): gas furnace maintenance
Performing simple gas furnace maintenance such as changing the filter can extend the life of your furnace by years!
Many people are surprised to learn that one of the main reasons that furnaces stop working is because the filter is so clogged that good airflow is not possible. Reduced airflow puts a furnace under strain which can then cause the motor and fans to overheat and break down.
Avoid shivering as you call for an emergency mid-winter maintenance call on the coldest day of the year. Instead, spend a little time on furnace maintenance and be toasty warm all winter long.
Start Your Gas Furnace Maintenance Early
Most people wait until they need their furnace to heat a cold house before they think about maintenance.
Instead, you should choose to begin your winter furnace maintenance in early fall, before the true heating season begins. This gives you a better chance that you will prevent a furnace failure during a cold, winter night.
if your unit is also an air conditioner, you should perform a spring maintenance check at the tail end of winter.
Shut Off the Furnace
The first thing you need to do before working with your furnace is to turn off power to the unit. Turn off the electrical power as well as the fuel supply.
Look for a furnace switchplate that may be near the furnace or near the breaker box. You will also need to find the fuel shutoff valve. this will likely be on the incoming gas pipe or near the oil tank.
If there is ever a leak or fire, you should be aware of where these shutoffs are. So make a note of their location for future reference.
Visual Inspection Time
Next, have a look at the furnace all over. You want to see that all pipes and tubes are properly angled and fastened to the furnace securely.
Carefully look at the heat exchanger. Look out for holes, cracks and even rust that looks extensive and deep. Then, look at the flue for holes or rust.
Take a moment to take a sniff of the gas flex. A rotten egg smell is a sign that you have a gas leak. Contact a professional HVAC company immediately.
If you see anything that is alarming or seems off, schedule a furnace service appointment.
Replace the Air Filter
Next, it’s time to change out your old air filter for a new one. This is a simple home furnace maintenance that you should do at least once a year. Ideally, you would replace the air filter every 3 months.
The air you and your family breathes passes through the air filter in your furnace. there are several sizes of air filters so measure the old one or bring it with you to your hardware store to ensure you buy the right size.
It’s best to buy a multi-pack of filters so that you can change the filter easily next time.
Remember, a clogged filter decreases the efficiency of your furnace. It also forces the unit to work harder and could lead to a furnace failure.
Prevent costly repairs by maintaining your furnace’s air filter clean.
Check the Blower Belt
When you replace the air vent, you can also take a look at the blower belt. The blower is an integral part of your furnace that pushes warm air through the ducts into the various vents in your house.
You can check that the belt is moving quickly and has good tension. A loose belt will make the blower work slowly.
One way to test the blower belt is to push the belt firmly with your finger.
If the belt deflects more than 3/4 of an inch, the tension needs to be adjusted. Do this by sliding the motor backward a tiny bit. Test the tension again and repeat if needed.
Clean the Flame Sensor
Did you know that when a flame sensor is dirty it will stop the furnace from firing?
Clean the flame sensor on your gas furnace each year to avoid this.
All you need to do is use a screwdriver to remove the sensor from the furnace. Then use an emery cloth to clean the sensor. Replace the sensor and replace the screws.
Review other HVAC maintenance tips that you should know about.
Dust and Vacuum
The biggest part of winter furnace maintenance is cleaning. That’s because dirt and dust are the major causes of furnaces working inefficiently.
Take a soft paint brush and brush the insides of the furnace. As you do so, the brush will dislodge and debris and dust from the interior of the furnace.
Use a hand-held vacuum to clean up the debris. Use the same brush or a dry cloth to wipe the exterior of the furnace including ductwork.
Clean Floor Vents
Next, you will remove all the floor vents in your home and vacuum up a surprising amount of dust, hair and other debris.
Use a vacuum tool to get into the ductwork as far as you can to clear out the vents for better furnace efficiency. Your whole family will enjoy the cleaner air as a result of this furnace maintenance.
Consider Calling a Professional Furnace Expert
If you don’t feel able to perform these gas furnace maintenance tasks, you need to contact an HVAC company to come to maintain your furnace.
If your furnace is getting old, you may want to contact a professional furnace repair person even if you were able to complete this list. An expert can do a better job at inspecting your unit to ensure that it runs effectively all winter long.
a preventive service call will be more affordable than an emergency repair in the dead of winter.
Next, check out these 10 common furnace problems every homeowner should know.