With the cold weather comes the regular use of the home furnace and when the furnace is in regular use, it is important to make sure that it is well maintained and operating correctly. A poorly maintained furnace will not only have a shorter operating life, but it will also be less efficient and effective. That means that ignoring the necessary maintenance will not only increase your utility bills, but it may also result in a furnace that does not sufficiently heat the house.
Before you begin any sort of maintenance on your heater, you should turn off the electricity and the gas to the machine. Most heaters will have a disconnect switch on the side of the machine and a nearby valve for the gas supply. Turn both of these to the off position before you continue with any of the following steps. If you do not see a disconnect switch for the electricity, go to the service panel and switch off the breaker for the furnace.
To begin, you will want to check and possibly change or clean the filter for the furnace. This is a step that should be taken at the beginning of the usage season and every month thereafter when the unit is in regular use. This will keep the furnace running well and protect the unit from damage. Checking and changing the filter is a step that should be taken even when you are not cleaning the entire unit, but it is one step that should be included in any furnace cleaning process.
Next, you will want to open the service door on the furnace to clean the interior. For this step, you will want to use a vacuum with the hose extension. Inspect the interior of the unit looking for areas where there is a build-up of dirt and dust. Use the hose extension of the vacuum to clean the interior of the furnace, paying special attention to the motor, the blower, belts and the area around the air intake. The hose extension of the vacuum can do a good job of getting the majority of the dirt and dust, but if you have the narrow attachment, it can help you to get into the small spaces and perform a more thorough cleaning.
Once you have cleaned out the interior of the machine, your midseason cleaning is complete. Replace the service door to its position on the furnace and restore the electricity and gas. After the gas and electricity have been restored, it is recommended that you turn the heater on and observe its function through one cycle.
The cleaning described here is a simple process that a homeowner can perform midway through the usage season to help maintain the efficiency and performance of the machine. Even with this cleaning, the homeowner should have a professional perform an inspection and maintenance on the furnace at the beginning of the usage season.