Submitted by Jeff Spoor, Spoor’s Heating & Air Conditioning
Preventative - Keep it Clean!
Like all appliances and home machinery, you want to keep your furnace clean. A build up of dirt and dust can mean a breakdown the efficiency of your heating system. Nowadays, who can afford to waste anything, let alone fuel? These steps apply whether you are doing gas furnace maintenance, oil or electric furnace.
There are three areas you want to pay attention to when it comes to furnace maintenance. They are the furnace filters, the blower and the motor.
Maintenance - Filters!
This is a critical step in furnace maintenance, but how often you clean or replace your furnace filters will depend on a few factors. Hold a dirty filter up to a burning light bulb. If you can see a clear outline of the bulb, your filter is still good. When it gets to the point you can't see the bulb, it’s time for a new one. If you have pets, or are a smoker, you'll need to change the furnace filter more often.
Changing the filter may not seem important but when your furnace's blower motor burns out because your clogged filter restricted too much air flow you’ll find that a new motor is going to cost you a lot more than a filter.
Maintenance - Blower & Motor:
Clean the blower assembly. Check to make sure the belt isn't loose or damaged. Assuming your furnace doesn't have a sealed blower motor, put a few drops of oil in the motor. Now the blower motor is running smoothly and efficiently, and your heating system should keep you warm this winter.
A few furnace tips worth noting. Your heating and air conditioning vents are there for a reason. Neither your return air vents nor your supply registers should be obstructed by furniture or anything else. Air needs to circulate through them freely. And that includes filters that are used at the vent. Are they trapping lots of junk? They're likely trapping lots of air too. If you absolutely must use thick filters of any sort, have the static pressure tested at both the return and supply vents to make sure you're getting the required minimum airflow for your furnace.
Does your furnace room double as a storage closet? Bad idea. No kind of flammable material should be stored anywhere near your furnace or water heater. And speaking of your furnace room. Did you know that your furnace and water heater need a lot of combustion air? Unless your furnace has a fresh air vent installed and piped to the exterior of your house--and no, that does NOT mean your chimney--you need to have a vented furnace room.