Furnace Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

Posted in Maintenance Tips

Your furnace works hard in the winter. It’s what we heating professionals refer to as “peak season” for a break down – and not in a good way. There are a few steps you can take as a homeowner to help your furnace do its job all winter long – so, turn off the power to your heating system and it’s time to get to know your furnace.

If you smell gas at any time while working with your furnace, leave the house immediately and call the local fire department or gas utility company. Do not re-enter your home again until it has been checked for gas leaks.

Step 1 – Check the air filter.

A furnace’s air filter is located in the blower door or between the blower and the return air duct, and although you might have to pry the door open slightly with a screwdriver, the filter should be easy to access. Slide out the filter and inspect it. If the furnace has been working hard to keep cold nights at bay, it has probably accumulated some dirt and debris in the filter. Since a dirty filter reduces efficiency and can cause failure of the furnace, you need to change it out regularly. Be sure to insert the new filter in the right direction to match the airflow. A one-inch filter should be changed once a month.

Step 2 – Clean the blower assembly.

While the furnace filter captures most debris, some still gets through to the blower assembly and vents. You can easily clean the blower assembly by wiping it down with a damp cloth. You can find the blower assembly by removing the panel that covers the filter (may have small screws) or by sliding out the fan unit, depending on the setup.

Gently wipe down the blower assembly, pulleys and belts.

Step 3 – Lubricate the bearings.

If your furnace is an older model, the bearings will need regular oiling. To do this, first locate the oil caps on your furnace and remove them. Then use some household oil to make them properly lubricated. Caution: Be careful not to use too much oil, as it could make for a potential fire hazard.

To finish up, use a vacuum to clean around the furnace and clear dust from the air vents throughout your home. Also, if you have a digital thermostat, you should change out the batteries.

These simple steps will ensure that your furnace doesn’t have to work overtime to disperse heat throughout your house.

Regular inspections by a licensed furnace repair or HVAC technician will help you stay on top of other, more serious potential problems that could lead to costly repairs. If your furnace needs a more thorough inspection, call Howe, Inc. to schedule a visit with one of our certified furnace technicians.

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