Winter is Coming: Furnace Maintenance

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Furnace Maintenance

Winter is Coming: Furnace Maintenance

Although it may not feel like it, autumn and winter are just around the corner. Now is the time to have furnace maintenance completed in your home. You don’t want to wait until a major issue occurs to check things out. Completing regular maintenance will help your furnace to run more efficiently and have a longer lifespan. The end of summer is the best time to complete furnace maintenance. A project like this takes about 3 hours, and it is difficult if you are not familiar with the system. There are quite a few things you can do on your own, but when in doubt, call a professional. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your furnace is ready for the colder months ahead. After all – winter is coming.

Turn off the Power

Whether your furnace is powered by gas or by oil, you will need to shut off the system before you complete any type of maintenance. There should be a red-plated switch (looks just like a light switch, but with a red rectangular plate around the switch). Before you complete any type of maintenance, you need to turn the power off.

Clean Combustion Chamber

The combustion chamber is where the heat is generated in your furnace. The chamber is usually a circular piece in the center of your furnace, but you should refer to your owner’s manual for an accurate diagram. If you don’t have a manual, try searching the make and model of your furnace online. The chamber needs to be cleaned periodically (at least once a year) to remove any build up that has accumulated. You will probably find carbon soot, water vapor, or other unwanted particles in the chamber. Built up soot can cause corrosion, leading to holes that leak unwanted vapors into the air.  To clean the chamber, start with a wire brush to scrape off build up and then vacuum it out with a shop-vac. Make sure you wear a respirator mask (just the simple white masks that cover mouth and nose) to prevent inhaling the particles yourself.

Flue Pipe Check

Another part of furnace maintenance involves the flue pipe. Visually check the flue pipe for any holes or areas that could leak. If there is a leak in the system, it could cause deadly carbon monoxide to leak into your home. If you have small holes, you could patch them with foil tape, but larger issues might mean you need to replace the flue pipe. If you are unsure, talk to a professional.

Change the Filter

A simple part of furnace maintenance involves the filter. To keep the air in your home moving efficiently and to keep it clean, you will need to change the filter on your furnace. During the winter, because we generally keep the windows closed, all the air in your home passes through the filter. So if your filter is dirty, your family is breathing in lots of airborne particles – from mold and mildew, to dust and allergens.

Check the Blower Belt

The blower pushes the heated air through the ducts of your home and distributes it into various rooms. If the belt that powers it is too loose, it can cause the blower to run more slowly and decrease efficiency. So your furnace has to work harder than it should. Push on the belt with your finger and if it bends more than ¾ of an inch, it should be tightened.

Although temperatures may not feel like it, fall is just around the corner. Cooler temperatures mean that it will soon be time to turn on your furnace and heat your home. Don’t wait until the cool weather arrives to complete furnace maintenance. There are few easy checks you can do on your own, but having a professional take a look can save you money in the long run. Schedule a yearly appointment with Weather Crafters today!

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