As a homeowner, your furnace plays a critical role in keeping you warm and comfortable. Similar to a car that requires regular maintenance, a furnace may need routine tune-ups to keep it functional and prolong its lifespan. Unfortunately, most homeowners end up neglecting their units until a technician advises them it’s time to get a furnace replacement.
Fortunately, there are some DIY furnace maintenance tasks that will prolong your system’s lifespan and ensure energy efficiency in the long run. Below are some simple DIY maintenance tips that will save you on costly repairs.
1. Check Your Air Vents
Dirt and dust can build up inside the ducts and vents in your home. A buildup in the vents can restrict air flow, which can lead to the furnace pushing this air out. If you check and find your vents are clogged, use a screwdriver to remove the vent covers. Get a vacuum cleaner’s hose to clean inside the vents. That will improve your indoor air quality and also prolong your unit’s functionality and efficiency. It’s also crucial to check the ductwork and vents for leaks. You can inspect for any leakage by turning on your furnace and waiting for the blower motor to kick in. Hold your hand about two inches away from the sealed tape to confirm that air is passing through the vents. Use heat-resistant silicone or metal tape to seal any leaks.
2. Replace Your Furnace Filters
Furnace filters are as essential to your health as they are to your furnace efficiency. Filters boost indoor air quality by trapping dust and debris. It prevents the recirculation of contaminants that can make you ill. Poor airflow also reduces the furnace’s efficiency and might cause the heat exchanger to overheat. Frequent furnace usage can lead to clogged filters. You need to find the air filter, remove it, and check if it has accumulated dust and debris. Experts recommend replacing your furnace filter monthly. Some units have washable filters that can be washed once a month when using your furnace frequently. Consider purchasing HEPA or electrostatic filters when getting a replacement air filter. These filters provide healthy and clean air and will improve your furnace’s efficiency.
3. Inspect the Belts
Blower belts are prone to cracks, fraying and can wear off over time. Inspect your drive belt for signs of frays or cracks after removing the panel from the furnace. Replace the belt if you notice signs of wear and tear.
4. Vacuum the Blower and Burner Compartments
As the air mixes with fuel and ignites in your furnace, the burner and blower compartments also produce soot, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and other things. Soot buildup can lead to corrosion of the chamber walls. Scrape off the soot with a wire brush before a buildup occurs. Additionally, you can vacuum the burner and blower compartments. Inspect the chamber walls for any signs of holes or corrosion.
5. Check the Flame Sensor
Your furnace’s flame sensor alerts the furnace if the gas valve is open or there’s an actual flame. A sensor resembles a narrow, bent metal rod, and it’s on the front area where the furnace produces flames. A flame sensor can lead to false readings. Remove the sensor from its bracket and wipe down the flame sensor to prevent this from happening.
Furnace maintenance is essential. It not only keeps your home comfortable, but also ensures your unit runs at peak efficiency and saves energy. Our simple DIY furnace maintenance tips are easy to follow and will help ensure your furnace functions as expected.
Consult an HVAC professional to check your unit if you come across anything above your DIY skill level, or notice that something is off. Although you may spend a little on maintenance, a professional will save you a lot more than having to replace your entire unit.