Gas furnaces are built to last for many years, but you can extend its lifespan with routine, preventative maintenance. The following information will help your furnace run more efficiently for longer, while limiting expensive repairs in the future.
1) Be safe about furnace maintenance
Before you do any maintenance on your furnace, make sure you have safe working conditions. If the repair is more complicated than replacing the filter, turn off the power to your system. You can turn off the power by tripping the circuit running to the system. Additionally, if you smell gas, never fix the furnace yourself. Evacuate your home quickly and call your gas company or fire department. Do not re-enter the home until it has been check by professionals and you have been given the all-clear.
2) Replace air filters regularly
Replacing your air filters regularly will extend the lifespan of your furnace and improve the air quality inside your home. This is the easiest maintenance task, because you can do it yourself. The furnace filter helps trap debris, dust, and other ambient particles. This prevents them from going inside the furnace and circulating throughout your home, contributing to household allergens. When particles become trapped inside the furnace, it can cause malfunctions. Since furnace filters trap numerous types of particles they should be replaced at least twice each year to keep the system running efficiently.
You can find the filter between the return air duct and the blower. Removing the filter should be easy, but you may need a screwdriver to help pry the door open. If the filter looks clogged and dirty, replace the filter with a clean one. Pay attention to the airflow direction to ensure you are inserting the filter correctly.
3) Clean your furnace
Although the filter captures much of the debris and dirt, some will make it inside the furnace. When you replace the filter, clean the belts, blower assembly, and pulleys. To access these parts, remove the panel covering the filter or slide out the fan unit. Do not use a lot of force because the coverings may be held by screws. Remove the screws and use a damp cloth to clean.
4) Have your furnace inspected
To ensure your furnace is running efficiently and possibly prevent expensive repairs before they become necessary, have a professional inspection. Your furnace should be serviced at least yearly. You should schedule an inspection at the end of winter. If your HVAC system has an air conditioner, you should have both systems inspected simultaneously.
Proper, routine maintenance is essential for your gas furnace, just as it is for other major appliances throughout your home. Maintenance will improve the longevity of your system and help you minimize costly repairs that can happen when you need your system to work the most. By using these steps in combination with professional servicing, you can gain the most use out of your furnace.