Furnace Maintenance That Every Homeowner Needs to Know About
As the American continent developed and folks settled into the land, homeownership became a reality for more and more people. When you combine homeownership and a sense of independence, it results in a protective, do-it-yourself perspective. Ordinary people learn unusual tasks to take care of their own property.
However, it isn’t easy to consider residential furnace maintenance as a do-it-yourself project, especially a gas-powered furnace. While there remain some tasks that HVAC technicians must accomplish, here are some tasks that homeowners can accomplish.
Supply Line Furnace Maintenance
If the gas supply has been turned off during the summer months, inspect the supply line and valve before turning the gas to the ON position. Follow the gas line to the furnace and locate the valve. With a soft bristle non-metallic brush, clean away any corrosion from the exterior. Ensure the valve turns freely–in an emergency, the gas may need to be shut off quickly.
Furnace Maintenance: Cleaning the Cabinet
At the electrical service panel, close the circuit market Furnace or HVAC. This protects you from electrical shock. Bolts hold a couple of panels in place. Remove the bolts and remove the panels to access the interior. Use the brush attachment on a shop vac and gently vacuum away dust from every surface that can be reached.
Give attention to the fins of the blower motor and the drip pan. During the cooling season, this drip pan collects the humidity the air conditioner removes from indoor air. Vacuum away dust and rust that may lead to a clogged drain line next spring. As you vacuum, be careful not to dislocate wire connections or dislodge components. Reconnect or tighten any poorly connected wires.
If you can view the rear portion of the blower fan, observe the condition of the drive belt. Look for cracks or fraying on the belt. Replacing the belt yourself is not advisable without serious mechanical skill. Make note of its condition and bring it to the attention of the technician during the next service call.
Restore the panels and tighten the bolts.
Furnace Maintenance: Change the Air Filter
Hopefully, you have changed the air filter frequently over the years and are familiar with its location. However, take a closer look and understand why it is placed in that spot. Air returns are scattered around the home and when the heating (or cooling) cycle begins, the entire volume of the home is pulled through this site and the filter. This happens about every 2 minutes of the cycle; if that doesn’t impress you, it should.
Since this extreme volume moves quickly through the filter, it is important to change the filter often—every three months is a starting point. By your observation, you may realize the filter needs to be changed more often. A clogged filter will severely slow the airflow and put increasing stress on the furnace to perform properly.
Other Furnace Maintenance Tasks
Most thermostats are battery-powered, so the batteries will need to be replaced annually. Hopefully, this is a familiar task since batteries should be replaced in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to keep your home safe.
While you might not be able to reach the majority of your ductwork for cleaning, clean the sections that you can reach. Make sure the registers and returns are uncovered, allowing the free flow of air.
While there are many tasks that an observant homeowner can do, there are some tasks that must be completed by a technician. These include inspecting the ignition source, the burner unit, the heat exchanger, and the exhaust vent. The same attention will be paid to electrical controls and switches to ensure the system functions efficiently.
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