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Furnace Maintenance

Regular furnace maintenance is the key to an efficient heating system. Dirty filters, clogged burner ports and improper settings can drastically reduce furnace efficiency. Failure to keep up with furnace maintenance can lead to high expenses and even become dangerous. Regardless of what type of central furnace you have, it is recommend that you get a yearly inspection by a qualified service technician and replace or clean filters on a monthly basis.

Preventative Furnace Maintenance

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) test.
  • Cleaning the motors, burners, fan and air filter.
  • Inspection of safety controls, thermostat, blower operation, fan belt, gas pilot safety system and gas piping to the furnace.
  • System lubrication.

Carbon Monoxide Test

Central furnace systems that consist of heat exchangers have the potential of filling every room with undetectable, poisonous carbon monoxide gas. You should brush and vacuum the heat exchanger surfaces every year, if recommended by your owner's manual. Also, it is highly recommended that you have your heat exchanger checked by a qualified heating contractor before you use your heater in winter months. At that time, the contractor will probably replace the filters, and check the fan belt and oil.

In addition to the heat exchanger, the blower-fan belt drive should also be checked. This is a task that you can handle yourself. The good thing is that a worn or unraveled fan belt is not dangerous threat, but it can make your electric bill much more costly. If you notice that your fan belt is frayed than you should have it replaced because it will soon split. You should also check to see that the belt is tight, but not too tight.

It is also very important to inspect the burners. The burners are responsible for heating the exchanger which warms the air that is blown through the ducts. If the burners aren’t working than the system isn’t working efficiently. Carefully inspect the burners and check to see that the flames are burning blue. Yellowish-red flames indicate that the fuel is not burning clean and hot. It’s common for the burners to rust or corrode and when this happens, the flame ports become clogged resulting in reduced efficiency.

Furnace Filters

You should always clean or replace disposable furnace filters periodically during the winter and you should check the filter monthly. A permanent air screen or electronic air filter should be cleaned according to manufacturer's recommendations. When typical filters become clogged with debris, they cut down on a furnace’s efficiency and, over time, can cause parts to wear out faster. This is why you should change filters quarterly or sooner if they look dirty. Keep in mind, pleated fabric filters are a good, inexpensive choice for reducing dust and allergens.

Lastly, system lubrication is a task that just about any homeowner can perform. By making sure your central furnace system is properly lubricated you will cause a quieter operation and increase the serving life of the finance. Also, proper lubrication will reduce stress on the drive motor and ensure cheaper motor operation. Be careful not to put too much lubricant on the system because the excess lubricant can be thrown off the bearings and onto the interior of the furnace which will later result in dust buildup.

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