6 Ways to Maintain Your Furnace

Preventative Maintenance on Your Furnace Prevents Emergency Repairs

Hot Point Heating and Cooling provides emergency furnace repair services 24 hours a day and 7 days a week—but you’d rather not have to make that phone call. When winter is right around the corner, your furnace has been dormant for months on end.

Be absolutely certain the furnace will fire up when the first shocking “Welcome back to winter, Wisconsin” morning strikes in November.

Consistently checking the integrity of your furnace system minimizes the potential for repairs and can also greatly lower your heating bills.

Take the steps necessary to keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently, pumping hot air throughout your home. The following 5 simple checks ensure your furnace is in good working order.

WARNING: Before doing anything, switch off the power to the furnace. Flip the switch on the unit and turn the circuit breaker to the “off” position. If you have a gas furnace, close the gas valve.

Vacuuming out furnace compartment
Routinely clean out the furnace blower compartment to clear away dirt and debris.

1) Clean Out the Access Area and Blower Compartment

Open all access panels to the unit and take a peek inside. Is there a bunch of dirt and debris? Get it all out. Use a wet/dry vacuum to suck out dust, dirt and debris around the motor and blower. Get inside the blower compartment and carefully clean off other mechanical parts using a soft brush and a wet/dry vacuum. Be careful around wires. After vacuuming, wipe it all down with a damp cloth.

While you’re in there, check all the wires for corrosion and loose connections. Use a screwdriver, wrench or nutdriver to tighten any obviously bad connections you can easily reach. Remove the flame shield and check the burner for corrosion. If you have any doubts about what you see in the interior of your furnace, contact the furnace experts at Hot Point and we’ll give you a hand.

2) Change the Furnace Filter

Inspecting the furnace filter is the most frequent check you need to perform. Ensure the filter isn’t clogged with dust and debris. If airflow is too restricted, the furnace has to work too hard and efficiency is compromised. Your furnace ages quicker and your energy bill rises. It’s bad all around.

A common rule of thumb is to change your filter every month. If you use a higher quality filter, like a high-efficiency pleated air filter, you may only need to change it every three months or so. One thing is for sure: pay attention to the state of your furnace filter and you greatly reduce the chance of having an emergency situation.

3) Inspect and Lubricate the Blower Motor

The blower is driven by an electric motor to move heated air through ductwork. Lubricate the blower motor bearings. There needs to be oil between the shaft and the bushing of the blower motor at all times for the unit to function correctly.

Check the blower belt’s wear and tension. A loose belt can slow the blower. If the belt is frayed or shows any signs of wear, it needs replacing. If the belt deflects more than about 3/4 inch when pressed firmly, tighten it by sliding the motor back.

If you feel uncomfortable disassembling your furnace and seek further assistance, our furnace repair professionals are just a phone call away.

4) Check the Flue Pipe for Leaks

Check the flue pipe coming out of the top of the furnace to ensure it is venting properly. Holes in the flue pipe leak nasty combustion byproducts, including carbon monoxide. If this is the case, you can’t run the furnace without exposing yourself to a serious health risk.

Check near where the pipe meets the furnace. Patch small holes with foil tape. Corroded flues must be replaced. Sometimes faulty installation will lead to a structural leak requiring a full re-installation. If this is a case, enlist the help of the service professionals at Hot Point.

5) Clean Out Air Registers

The air registers in your home gather a ton of dust, pet hair, bits of food and other stray items over time. A clogged air register has effects similar to those of a bad filter. The packed in dust and dirt restricts airflow, dirties the air and makes the furnace work harder to get the house up to the temperature you need.

Remove all the floor registers in your home and remove any obstructions with a high powered vacuum. By cleaning out the registers, you take an easy step toward ensuring your furnace isn’t working harder than it needs to.

6) Clean the Thermocouple

If you aren't comfortable removing and handling critical parts of your furnace, it may be a good idea to skip this step. However, if you're handy with a screwdriver and have the necessary tools, removing and cleaning off the thermocouple annually will help you avoid problems in the future. In the life of your furnace, your thermocouple will likely get dirty or wear down, and your pilot light might keep going out. Cleaning the thermocouple will help ensure your pilot remains lit without interruption.

Waukesha County HVAC Services Available 24/7 to Repair Your Furnace

When you’ve finished this DIY maintenance on your furnace, make sure you put the access cover(s) back on correctly. Some furnaces have a safety switch to prevent the unit from powering up until the cover is perfectly positioned.

We understand you really don’t want a broken furnace. By taking these preventative measures, you do everything you can to make sure your furnace survives as long as possible. However, if your unit fails and you need help right now, Hot Point Heating & Cooling responds to calls for emergency HVAC service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Contact the HVAC technicians at Hot Point Heating & Cooling and get a quote on furnace repairs today.