Skipping yearly furnace maintenance can lead to costly repairs and breakdowns, and there are maintenance steps you don’t want to skip. At Grasshopper Heating & Cooling, we offer annual inspections and tune-ups as part of a comprehensive furnace maintenance plan. However, there are some DIY tasks you don’t need a professional for, but that can make a big difference in the health of your furnace.

Before performing any work on your furnace, turn off the appliance and the power at the breaker box. Now, you can proceed with the following furnace maintenance steps:

Clean or Replace the Filter

Depending on the type of filter, clean or replace it every one to three months. Most filters slide in and out of a housing. It’s a simple process, but turn off your furnace first. Otherwise, unfiltered air may be forced through the system and into your home. Make sure the new filter is the same type as the old one and compatible with your heating system. Remove the old filter carefully to avoid spreading dust or debris.

Perform a Simple Thermostat Check

A professional should test and calibrate your thermostat during annual maintenance. However, you can test the thermostat yourself by using a temperature sensor to verify its reading is correct. You can also test fan speeds and system dampers. With the furnace off, inspect the wiring connections and tighten any that are loose. If there’s dust and debris on wires, use compressed air to clear away any dirt.

Inspect the Blower Unit

Your furnace produces heat. The blower fan ensures heated air reaches each room. Once you access the blower, check whether the fan blades are dirty; if so, clear any dust or debris. Call a professional if they appear broken or if there’s an issue that can’t be resolved with simple DIY furnace maintenance

The fan wheel should spin without any resistance. Also, check the belts and pulleys for any damage or issues with tension. Other than cleaning the fan blades or lubricating moving parts with oil, call for help if you notice any damage or something out of place. Even minor damage can cause strain on other parts and lead to more costly repairs.

Inspect and Clean the Burners

It doesn’t take carbon and soot long to build up if there’s an issue with the burners. Any buildup can interfere with how your furnace performs. But there are things you can do to address the problem. First, turn off the power and gas. Then, open the panel and vacuum debris from on and around the burners.

Inspect the burners for buildup around the channels and openings where the flame comes from. It can be removed with a brass wire brush. To clear the manifold, remove any debris using a thin wire or paperclip. A dirty flame sensor can be cleaned with a scouring pad, but be gentle to avoid scratching or breaking the housing. However, if the ignitor looks damaged or dirty, hire a professional to replace it.

Check Ductwork

You can’t see all the ductwork without specialized equipment, but you can open grilles and registers to see inside branch ducts. Visible dirt and dust can be vacuumed out. Mold can often be cleaned with a light detergent and a sponge or brush. Wear gloves, a mask, and safety glasses when doing so. You can also use an anti-fungal spray to disinfect the area and prevent the mold from coming back.

Using a flashlight, look for signs of damage to air ducts. Then, inspect visible ductwork in places like the attic, basement, or crawlspace. If there are holes, cracks, spaces between seams, corrosion, or kinked or crushed ducts, call an HVAC contractor as soon as possible.

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Your carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are a critical line of defense in protecting you from a serious hazard. Although not a part of your furnace, CO detectors should be checked. Testing each unit and changing the batteries (if applicable) will ensure they work should there be a carbon monoxide leak from your heating system. 

Contact Grasshopper Heating & Cooling

It takes experience and training to properly maintain a furnace and spot developing problems. The DIY tips above can help your furnace work more efficiently and last longer. However, don’t forget to schedule annual furnace maintenance or call if you notice issues such as reduced efficiency, short cycling, low air pressure, or reduced heating performance. We follow a comprehensive checklist to prevent major repairs, avoid breakdowns, and ensure your heating system is in peak condition. To schedule service, contact us online or call (518) 241-1762.

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