How to Clean and Maintain Your Furnace Yourself
Lengthen the Life of Your Furnace
If you have a furnace in your home, it is important to maintain and clean it on a regular basis. A dirty furnace will not function correctly like it’s supposed to when it’s clean. When you properly and regularly maintain your furnace, not only are you preventing expensive repairs, you are also extending the life of your furnace.
If your furnace is turned off and collecting dust for majority of the year, when you do turn it on, you will be blowing dust and dirt into the air in your home. This can cause germs and sickness to spread throughout your home. You can clean your furnace yourself, or you can hire a professional furnace cleaning company to come to your home and service your furnace.
DIY Furnace Cleaning
There are three main parts that you need to be familiar with when cleaning your furnace. Dirt can get into the filter system, the heat exchanger, and the blower. Each of these components will need to be taken apart and cleaned separately.
Typically, if a furnace is not turning on or functioning properly, these three parts will be checked first. Before you begin working on your furnace, make sure it is off and unplugged.
The Filter System
Typically, you can find your filter system on the front of the furnace. Once you have located this, remove the filter. Inspect your filter and see if it is dirty and/or damaged. If it isn’t damaged and it isn’t too dirty, you can clean it and reuse the same filter. However, if your filter is either damaged or extremely dirty, it will need to be replaced with a new one.
Some furnaces do not have disposable filters. If this describes your furnace, you can clean the filter with mild soap and warm water before drying and putting the filter back into place. The filter on your furnace needs to be checked three to four times per year to ensure it is in proper working condition.
The Heat Exchanger
The heat exchanger block can be cleaned with a small scrub brush or a damp cloth. First, you will want to remove any visible dirt or dust that appears on the heat exchanger block. After removing the majority of the dirt and dust, vacuum the block assembly using a small handheld vacuum that can reach into smaller spaces with removable attachments.
To access the blower assembly on your furnace, remove the entire front panel. You should then be able to locate the fan unit inside the furnace. You will slide the fan unit out and clean the blower assembly. You can clean it with mild soap and warm water. If you do not get this part clean, you will have dust and dirt pushing out into your home.
Return the blower assembly back into the furnace once it is clean and dry. If your fan connects to wires, make sure you hook it back up correctly.
Professional Furnace Cleaning
If these steps seem overwhelming or confusing, you can always hire a professional furnace cleaning company to take care of your regular maintenance. If you don’t feel confident with cleaning your own furnace, you don’t have to stress. There are professional furnace cleaning companies all around that are waiting to help you.
How Often Your Furnace Needs to Be Maintained
Many people are surprised to find out that their furnace needs to be cleaned and maintained at least once a year. Since you only use your furnace for a small period of time each year, you may not feel like it even gets used enough to be cleaned and maintained yearly. However, for most of the year when your furnace is not in use, it is sitting and collecting dirt, dust, and debris.
When it begins to get colder outside and you are ready to turn your furnace on, if you have not taken the proper action to have it cleaned and inspected, you may find that it is not working properly.
If you choose to either clean your furnace yourself or hire a professional furnace cleaning company, the preventative maintenance will be completed and you will have peace of mind knowing your furnace is ready to go for the colder months. It is recommended to clean and maintain your furnace every year during fall right before the weather begins to change.
One great thing about cleaning your furnace is that you probably already have all the supplies you need laying around your house. You can use what works best for you, but it is recommended to have the following supplies on hand before you begin cleaning your furnace: vacuum with attachments, scrub brushes, rags, and replacement filters if your furnace does not have a reusable filter.
The vacuum needs to have attachments small enough to reach into the smaller areas inside of the furnace. You can use a handheld vacuum, a regular vacuum, or even a shop vac. You will have an easier time if you use a vacuum that has removable attachments. You will need the scrub brushes and rags to clean in the small areas inside of the furnace.