To keep your gas or propane furnace working properly and without downtime during the colder months, it is important to take the time to do routine maintenance at least once a year. Many people will buy a service plan along with a new furnace so upkeep is continued after installation. Others will take it upon themselves to do the maintenance steps in keeping the furnace working without incident. If you have decided to undertake the task of maintaining your furnace yourself, there are several steps to take to make sure it works when cold weather begins.
Turn Off Power
Before you do maintenance to your furnace, it is important to turn off the power supply so the furnace does not come on while you are working on it. Most furnaces will have a separate switch on the wall behind it, usually on a red or black switch plate. If you cannot locate the controls, turn off the furnace at your main breaker box.
Clean The Chamber
The combustion chamber should be cleaned out between hot and cold seasons to remove any soot and ash accumulated from the prior cold season. This chamber is usually located in the front of your furnace and can be accessed via a small hinged door. Wipe any soot from the pilot light gently with a lint-free piece of cloth. Do your best not to alter the pilot light burner in any way while cleansing, as just a small shift can cause a furnace to improperly ignite. Use a wire brush to scrub down the walls and ceiling of the chamber and remove the charred remains using a shop vacuum with a hose attachment.
Swap The Air Filter
The air filter will take impurities out of the air that is forced through to your heating vents, allowing you to breathe in clean air while the heat is running. Checking your filter every month to make sure it does not appear gray will help you maintain high-quality air to breath. At the first sign of discoloration, it should be replaced.
Air filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to change. Simply slide out the old one and slide a new one in its place. Check the sizing before heading to the store and look for an air filter that takes away pet dander or allergens if fur or dust bothers someone in your family.
Check The Belts
Take a look at the belts running your furnace to see if there are any cracks or worn areas signifying a replacement is necessary. If the belts are too loose, they may become snagged on mechanisms within the furnace housing. A loose or frayed belt should be replaced completely by a furnace repair specialist.
Look For Escaping Air
Your furnace forces air into a metal chute that runs to the heating vents or baseboards in your home. This chute, the flue pipe, should be completely free of holes, cracks, and crevices that let air out before it gets up to the rest of your home. If you notice an area where air is escaping, it can be repaired using foil tape to keep the heat enclosed. Larger rips would require the entire flue pipe be replaced by a professional.
For professional assistance, contact a company such as Fred's Plumbing & Heating Services.