Maintaining a furnace is an important part of being a homeowner, so learning how is an important step for you and your family.

Maintaining a Furnace

Maintaining a Furnace

Furnace cleaning and furnace repair are two parts of maintaining a furnace.

Pilot Light

Sometimes, the pilot light can go out on your furnace if it is not really broken. You will have to relight it to get your furnace back up and running. Luckily, this won't require any kind of furnace repair and is something you can do on your own. If the pilot light has gone out, you may have to relight it by hand, although some units have a button or lever you can use to turn the light back on. Follow the directions on the access door for specific instructions on getting your pilot light back on. If you cannot get your pilot light back on, contact a professional who can get it going safely.

Blower and Blower Motor

Occasionally you will need to clean out your furnace blower. Do this by using your vacuum to suck up dust, dirt and debris from around the unit. You'll also want to lubricate the blower motor on a regular basis to ensure that the machinery aspect of your furnace is working properly when it's cold outside. Refer to the manufacturer's manual regarding how to do this and what equipment and lubrication is most appropriate for your unit.

Furnace Filters

Most furnace units need new furnace air filters on a regular basis to keep the air quality in your home clean and to cut the risk of fire. Some experts say you need to replace the furnace filter every 30 days, but you can often go longer between changes by vacuuming dust and dirt off the surface of the filter and replacing it in the unit. Dirty furnace filters can also clog the airflow through your furnace and overwork the equipment, which can lead to wear and tear or breakdown much more quickly than you would find with clean furnace air filters.

Furnace Filters

Flame Shield and Burner

Both the flame shield and burner on your furnace should be checked over for corrosion, damage or broken components. You can do this each time you change the furnace filter. To do a good job, first remove the flame shield, check it over carefully, and then set it aside. Now, check the burner for corrosion or damage and make note of anything that concerns you so you can call a professional if you feel it's necessary. You should also check the flames with the fan off and on to make sure your furnace is operating properly. If you find any corrosion or damage to any parts of your furnace, call a technician to help you determine which repairs are needed. This ensures that your furnace works optimally and safely in your home.

Check the Flue

Your next step is to check the flue to be sure it's venting properly. This ensures that you and your family are safe when your furnace is running and that your unit is working properly, which prolongs its lifespan and keeps you from having to make costly repairs. Give your flue a once-over for dents or gaps that could be affecting the air flow so that those issues can be addressed appropriately to maximize the air flow through your furnace. If you notice any damage to your flue, have an expert assess it and help you determine what you can do to fix the problem and ensure proper venting of your furnace.

Check the Flue

Furnace Cleaning the Registers

Furnace cleaning involves more than just paying attention to the actual furnace unit. Once you have finished checking and cleaning the unit, spend some time vacuuming the actual heat registers. A lot of dust and debris can build up in and around them, and cleaning them out makes air flow better, which ensures efficient heating of your home. Pull the registers off the floor or wall if they are removable and vacuum as far into them as you can reach. The more junk you can get out of the vents, the more air flow you can expect from your furnace. Clean the registers before replacing them. This is a task you'll want to perform on a regular basis as dirt and dust will build up all over again each time you run the heater. Every couple of months is usually appropriate for most homes when maintaining a furnace.

Check the Air Flow

It's important to give your heat registers unimpeded air flow to ensure that the furnace is adequately heating each room of your house. Make sure that the heat registers are not blocked by furniture or rugs. You also want to make sure that curtains aren't hanging over the registers. All of these things can keep air from leaving the register and heating the home. This can result in cold, drafty rooms, and it also overtaxes the heating unit, making it work harder and causing it to wear out much faster. Keep piles of clothing, toys and other items away from heat registers as well. You will need to check the air flow from your registers regularly when maintaining a furnace to be sure you are getting the most out of your heater. This is especially important in bathrooms and kids' rooms, where things are often tossed around and could be blocking a heat register.