In the winter, your furnace is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your home. Without it, your central air and heating system won’t do the heating part.
If you’re like most homeowners, a furnace isn’t something you’re familiar with but should be. Keeping your furnace in working condition requires regular maintenance that’s easy enough to do yourself. Here are 10 furnace maintenance tips that can help you do just that.
Do a Visual Inspection
The first step in furnace maintenance is giving the equipment a good once over. There should be no visual damage and all venting pipes and tubes should be connected securely. Another thing to watch out for is the smell of rotten eggs, which is the sign of a gas leak.
Clean or Replace the Air Filter
All air filters, including furnace air filters, need to be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis. If not, airflow will be restricted and air particles won’t get filtered out. When that happens the system has to work harder. Therefore, a clean air filter affects the efficiency and longevity of the furnace.
The rule of thumb is to clean or replace your furnace air filter once every 1-3 months. However, if there are manufacturer recommendations, those should be followed.
Install and/or Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detector
If you have a gas furnace there should be a carbon monoxide (CO) detector nearby. The CO detector should be tested and the batteries replaced every six months just as you would do for smoke detectors.
Keep the Registers Clear
Airflow issues could generate further down the line if registers are closed or blocked. When a piece of furniture blocks a register vent or it’s closed the hot air isn’t going to be distributed evenly around the house. This might cause a homeowner (or someone else in the house) to turn the heat up making the furnace work harder.
Check the Pilot Light
If your furnace has a pilot light look to see if the flame is bright blue. A flame of any other color is an indicator something is off and should be inspected by a professional.
Keep Exhaust Pipes Clear
If you have a high-efficiency gas furnace then there should be exhaust pipes leading outside. Those pipes need to be kept clear at all times to ensure safe and efficient operation.
Clear Out the Clutter
The area around the furnace should be kept clutter-free. When it’s clear of clutter dirt and debris won’t build up as quickly. It’s also much easier to do visual inspections and notice when something is off if the area is clear.
Clean Around the Furnace
You’ll also need to clean around the furnace. Dust off the furnace exterior and use a vacuum to remove dirt, debris, and dust in the surrounding area. The internal components can also be cleaned with a soft-bristle paintbrush. Be very gentle because it’s easy to damage the sensitive components inside.
Keep the Drainage Tube Clean
Gas and propane-powered furnaces have a drainage tube where water drips out of the unit into a drip pan. If the drainage tube becomes clogged water will back up and it can damage the flame sensor. If that happens the furnace will shut down completely.
Keeping the drain tube clean is easy. Simply detach the drain tube from the manifold and use compressed air to clear the tube of debris. If there’s buildup or residue white vinegar can be used to clean it off.
Get a Professional Tune-Up
An annual service from a professional is always recommended. The technician can look at every component from the inside out, including the ductwork, wiring, and other electrical elements. Consider this to be a preventative measure that can catch mechanical problems before they become a real issue.
At Major Energy, we help you keep your furnace running efficiently with fixed-rate electricity and gas plans. Check to see which plans are currently available in your area.