Last Updated on March 25, 2021 by HVAC
Annual Furnace Maintenance – How To DIY
As is usually the case, you will be advised by heating contractors and furnace filter manufacturers to hire the services of a qualified HVAC technician to do a routine check of your furnace and furnace filters. An HVAC technician, after all, is trained in this kind of thing, so he can spot defects that are not seen by an untrained eye.
If he notices problems with your furnace filter, you may have to invest in a new one. This is much better then having to fix the furnace itself as you can find many discount furnace filters online.
Of course, though, you can not just totally depend on your HVAC technician. You can do simple maintenance work in order to keep your furnace working properly and/or prevent further damage.
First and foremost, if you are using propane or natural gas, you must shut off the gas and power supplies before doing anything else. Testing the furnace with the gas and power on is something that should be done by a trained technician.
The most that you can do to maintain your furnace is to change the furnace filter with preferably a high quality pleated style Honeywell furnace filter to replace your old one. We have a chart that details how often to change your furnace filter depending on the filter you buy and your indoor air quality conditions.
You must make sure, though, that your replacement is compatible with your existing furnace filter. Although high-end furnace filters with high MERV ratings like an electrostatic air filter usually last longer, it may still be necessary to check your furnace filter on a monthly basis.
Another thing you can do is to check the intake and exhaust pipes of your furnace and make sure they do not have trees and shrubs growing into them. I know this my seem silly, but it happens all the time. And unless you actually look at the pipe, you wouldn’t even know until the plant is large enough and protruding enough to see it without specifically looking for it.
Try to remove the pipes and look for obstructions, like leaves, or maybe or something else. It may also be a good thing to check your wires for any loose or shorted connections. Just follow the wires with your hands and feel for any cuts, nicks or other problems that may exist.
The plug harness connections must be tested to ensure that they are not loose. The easiest way to do this is with a volt meter to be sure the required amount of electric is passing through the unit, and not too much which will short it out, or too little which will make the unit work harder and eventually burn it out.
You can vacuum the blower compartments as well as the burners so as to keep them from getting contaminated. The best way to do this is with a “shop vac” that is also water proof so that regardless of what’s inside, it won’t hurt a shop vac as it would a normal home vacuum.
Your blower motor must, too, be checked if it needs oiling, in which case, you must get the services of a service technician. Usually you’ll find the blower assembly will have to be removed so both sides can be oiled.
Heat is trapped when there is a blockage in the drain system of your furnace. Instead of calling your technician or carpenters, try treating the problem with household bleach.
Usually blockage occurs when the drain hose and drain trap have bacteria growing into them, restricting the flow of condensation through the drain system. Using household bleach can kill the bacteria along the drain lines or installing a condensate pump. Sometimes it could just be the pump isn’t working. If you’re unsure, take a look at this article how to tell if condensate pump is working.
Cleaning the burners and the flame sensor and checking the heat exchanger require the services of a trained technician. At the same time, ask your technician to look at the check pressure switches and the limit controls.
You can ask your technician as many questions about your furnace as you want. Knowing many things about your furnace can help you treat simple problems yourself, and this can save you a lot of money in the long run.