Undoubtedly one of the most important tasks for the winter season is furnace maintenance. The furnace is the heart of the heating system and can significantly lower your utility bill when properly cared for. It is possible to save money performing this task yourself but it is best left to a professional. Furnace specialists have a few extra tools to ensure that the job is done correctly. Just make sure to find a service professional with good reviews.
To be safe a furnace professional will start by turning off the power to the unit. Then the access panel is removed to get to the blower. The dust is cleaned out of this chamber with a vacuum and a towel is used to wipe off the blower.
Next a vacuum is used to clean the pulleys and belts off the motor housing. Lastly, lubricant is added to the motor to help improve performance and reduce wear on the mechanics.
Furnace Combustion Chamber and Flue
Exhaust gases from the combustion process are expelled from the house through the flue. The vent is inspected for cracks and corrosion. Any small holes will be covered with foil tape. The flue should be replaced if there is a lot of corrosion. This is vitally important because these gases can be deadly if leaked into the house in large amounts.
The combustion chamber is inspected next by removing an access panel. Soot and other buildup will be cleaned from the burner. Next, the chamber is vacuumed to remove dust. After closing up the chamber the service professional will measure the exhaust gases with a special meter. Using this data the fuel to air ratio is optimized for better performance. Lastly, if the unit is a oil-based system, the oil filter will be checked and replaced.
Furnace Air Filter
The easiest step is replacing the air filter. Every homeowner should be able to complete this task on their own and should do so every two to three months (i.e. more frequently for homes with pets or during remodeling projects). This filter ensures the furnace stays clean in between service visits. Also, a clogged filter will dramatically reduce the performance of the furnace.
Start by writing down the size of each filter and buying replacements. Reusable filters will only need to be cleaned and don’t require a replacement. Disposable types come in pleated and fiberglass version. The fiberglass ones are cheap but do not last as long. The pleated filters are the best because of the longer lifespan, good airflow, and their better filtering capabilities.
Remove the old filter from the air intake and clean the edges of with soapy water. Then vacuum out the duct as much as possible. Put in the new air filter in the correct direction. There are little arrows on the side of most filters to indicate airflow direction.
A Furnace Maintenance Summary
It is best to complete furnace maintenance before the temperatures start to drop. Try to schedule it as a part of your fall home maintenance checklist. It will help ensure your home stay warm and energy efficient for the winter.
Is it time for you to have your furnace serviced? Then you should take a look at EiEi Home’s Heating and Air Conditioning Specialists.