Fall is quickly approaching, and with it comes colder weather. Fall is also the ideal time to perform a furnace inspection before you depend on your heating system this winter. As indoor air temperatures drop, home heating systems are called upon to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home. Fall furnace maintenance should be conducted by qualified technicians who can perform inspections of various components, including blowers, filters, and ductwork.
Fall is the season when many homeowners conduct routine maintenance tasks for their HVAC equipment in order to ensure that it will continue operating at peak performance levels all year long.
If you aren’t ready to call in the professionals, it is important that you at least learn how to clean your furnace yourself.
Cleaning a furnace yourself can save you money since some problems may be easily remedied or even avoided altogether by following these five simple instructions:
1. Turn Off The Furnace
Turn off the furnace and make sure all of the burners are fully extinguished before attempting any cleaning. Turn off the electricity for your furnace at the circuit breaker or fuse panel. Wait two minutes to ensure that all power has been completely cut off, and then proceed with the following steps.
Some furnaces have removable grates on the bottom of their housings, allowing access to the flame arrestors, which can be easily cleaned by blowing them out through one of the holes in the burner assembly. If you don’t see any holes, you might simply take a vacuum cleaner hose and run it down into each of these spaces to suck up any dust or debris causing a problem.
Ensure no wires are present before doing this. Also, note that all of the extensions on your vacuum cleaner should be in place before attempting this method, as you might accidentally suck up something that isn’t dust or debris yourself.
2. Clean The Interior Of The Furnace
While it is possible that your furnace filters might be the cause of your problem, it’s normally a good idea to clean out all of the dust that has accumulated inside of the housing as well. A small amount should be fine, but if you notice that large amounts of dust are gathering inside even when you’re not using your furnace during the fall and winter months, something is wrong. To minimize any possibility of injury, turn off the power once again before proceeding with this step. Wear heavy gloves while cleaning out any vents or spaces in which you can see debris collecting.
3. Clear the Furnace Ducts and Vents
Even if you don’t have a furnace with ducts, it’s still important to ensure that your vents are clear of debris. Fall is the time when leaves tend to start piling up outside, and this can easily find its way into even the well-protected vents, which means that you’ve got to take extra care during the fall and winter months. Don’t forget to clean your vents. In much the same way as you would clean out your ducts, try blowing them out using a vacuum cleaner or other suitable tool. You can also try cleaning them by hand using a damp cloth or sponge, but make sure to rinse them off before moving on since residue might prevent proper airflow in either case.
4. Clean Your Burners
Burner assemblies usually have removable parts that can be pulled off and cleaned using a brush, vacuum cleaner, or any other suitable tool. If you’re not used to working on furnaces in your fall maintenance schedule, it might be best to call in a professional for this step—especially if something seems out of place when you take the assemblies apart.
Before putting anything back together after cleaning burners and flame arrestors alike, make sure to turn the power back on at the circuit breaker or fuse panel before proceeding with the next step. You don’t want to get burned for trying to clean out your furnace.
5. Test Your Furnace
If you haven’t already done so by turning off the electricity at the circuit breaker or fuse panel, do so now. Now that your fall furnace maintenance and cleaning process is complete, you need to ensure that everything works properly before turning on the power. Once any of the above steps have been completed, turn on your furnace to ensure it is ready for use this fall. If you smell something odd or just don’t feel it’s working properly, stop what you’re doing and call a professional.
Fall is a great time to clean out your air vents and a good time to get your furnace cleaned out as well. In the fall, leaves love to find their way into these vents whenever possible, which means that you need to make sure that they are kept clear at all times during this season. Remember—in most cases, disaster can strike when fall furnace maintenance isn’t done prior to turning the heating system back on again. Make sure to keep all of these furnace maintenance tips in mind before doing so. If you’re still having problems or notice anything out of the ordinary, it might be best to call in a professional for assistance.