People usually don’t think of buying or repairing a furnace during the summer months. But come winter, you will need a good furnace to keep the cold at bay.
According to EPA, in recent years, U.S. death rates in winter months have been 8% to 12% higher than in the non-winter months. In addition, cold temperatures can worsen pre-existing medical conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Without a doubt, it’s crucial to have a furnace working correctly in your home during the cold season.
Once installed, you’ll need to maintain your furnace with a professional furnace tune-up service. Professionals, with years of expertise and experience under their belt, can help you keep your furnace in great shape for years. However, there are a few simple tips and tricks that can help you maintain your furnace yourself. Here are a few of them.
Vacuum the Burners
One key way to keep your furnace in good shape is to vacuum the burners. A dust-insulated heat exchanger will absorb less heat and increase the running time of your furnace, forcing you to pay more in utility bills. Vacuuming removes dust and debris from your furnace.
The first step to do that is to turn off the furnace and the gas supply. Next, get a 20” length of ½” drain line and connect to your vacuum to reach behind the burners. This drain line will do an excellent job removing the dust stuck underneath the burner.
Inspect the Blower-Fan Belt
While some furnaces have direct-drive blower fans, others are driven by a fan belt. A lot of DIYers who use fan-belt blowers ignore the drive belt when they run maintenance checks. Having a loose and worn-out blower-fan belt produces rattling sounds that can be annoying and unbearable.
To avoid this, remove the cover of the furnace blower chamber. Then, if necessary, contact an expert to replace the worn-out fan belt. If you notice the fan belt is loose, you can position the motor a little further into the motor mount by calibrating the bolts located at both sides of the engine. It will give you room to adjust the motor until the belt has proper tension.
Replace the Filters
Routine replacement of your filter is the simplest and quickest way to increase your heating system’s performance. A clean filter maintains a good quality air circulation while keeping you warm.
However, the filter can get clogged up and dusty during the winter season due to intensive use. The function of the filter is to trap dust particles and impurities. Therefore, replacing the filter will prevent the fan and heating coil from impairment.
Changing your furnace filter is very simple. First, turn off the furnace, then locate your furnace filter in the blower compartment. Remove the old filter and insert the new filter. Other furnace filters, such as paper filters, should be replaced every three months to 10 months, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Lubricate Blower Shaft Bearings
Older models of furnaces have double motor bearings and blower shafts that need to be lubricated every year. All you need is two or three drops of lightweight non-detergent oil. However, remember not to lubricate excessively. Oil leaks can cause the failure of bearings and gears. Properly lubricating your bearings will help your furnace run smoothly without wear and tear, even when under pressure from intense use.
DIY strategies are cost-effective and rewarding when you have the necessary skills to tune up your furnace on your own. However, it is still recommended to choose a professional service because you can damage your furnace if you are not careful.