If you want your heating system to run optimally and last for years, you will have to conduct some routine maintenance on your furnace. Faulty settings, dirty filters and congested burners can all wreck havoc on the efficiency and operation of a furnace. Regardless of whether you have a forced air heating system or some other furnace type in place, you should replace the filters on a monthly basis and have a certified quality inspector come out once a year to test your furnace. Failure to maintain your heating system could result in high repair costs and even dangerous situations for your family.
Top preventative maintenance you should conduct on your furnace includes lubricating applicable moving parts in the system; cleaning the air filters, motors, fan and burners; testing for carbon monoxide leaks; and inspecting the blower, fan belt, safety controls, gas pilot light and piping and even the thermostat.
Carbon monoxide testing is essential as the heat exchangers of a furnace have the possibility of releasing carbon monoxide gas. This gas is poisonous and undetectable so if you were sleeping and this gas was released, you might never wake up. The heat exchanger surfaces can collect dust and other debris which might hinder its operation so it is important to vacuum and dust the surface a few times a year. If possible, have a qualified HVAC inspector check the exchanger and the rest of the system in the late summer before using the heater for the first time that season. At this time, the inspector could even oil necessary parts and check the fan belt for you.
While you have the inspector out, have him check out the burners as they are accountable for heating the exchangers which in turn blows warm air through the duct work in your home. When the burners do not work, the furnace will not operate efficiently. If you believe you can check the burners yourself, inspect the flame at the pilot light. Clean burning fuel with produce a blue flame while a hot, unclean fuel will burn a reddish-yellow color. When this non-blue color exists, it usually means the burners are corroding or becoming clogged from rust.
The fan belt drive for the blower in the furnace should also be inspected yearly. This is an easy task for even the most hesitant do-it-yourselfer. While a frayed fan belt is not a danger to you or the furnace’s operation, it does reduce efficiency. Therefore, it is important to replace a frayed belt as soon as possible to increase efficiency and reduce the threat of the belt splitting apart.
Another maintenance task to consider for your furnace is checking and replacing the filters as needed. It is best to check them once a month. Some filters are reusable and require that you wash out the dust accumulation and then dry it before placing it back in the furnace unit. With disposable filters, you can toss the dirty one and replace it with a new one so you can ensure the dust and allergens released into the air by the furnace are kept to a minimum.
Lubrication at key points in the furnace is essential to quiet operation of the appliance. Plus, it will increase the life span as well and reduce eventual repair costs. Lubrication reduces strain on the motor because the parts are not sticking or laboring.
Proper furnace maintenance is a necessary homeowner’s chore. If you want your heating system to last for years with minimal repairs, maintain the system or hire a qualified technician.