If you own your own home and you use a furnace to heat it in cooler months, taking the time to do maintenance during the summer will allow you time to make repairs if they are necessary. Many people opt to have a furnace maintenance service come to their home to check out their furnace before it is needed for the cold season. If you are handy with mechanical items and you limited with the funds you can pay out, you may be able to do some maintenance steps on your own in an attempt to prepare your furnace for use. Here are some maintenance steps to do to your own furnace.
Take Safety Precautions
Before you start evaluating your furnace, turn it off so it does not turn on while you are doing your maintenance. Most furnaces will have a red-colored switch plate located on the wall behind it. Simply switch it to the off position. If you cannot find this switch plate, turn your furnace off by shutting off the power at your breaker box.
Clean Out Last Season's Ashes
The combustion chamber is located behind a small door in the front of your furnace. It is the area where fuel and flame ignite to heat the air that is forced through the ducts to your heating vents. Clean this out completely to help keep the burners unobstructed from debris. Open the door and use a small wire brush to scrape any charred remains from the interior walls and ceiling of the combustion chamber. Remove this debris with a vacuum cleaner attachment. Take a look at the burners to make sure there are no pieces of soot embedded within. If you notice any, use an air compressor to help blow debris away.
Change Out Filters
Replace the air filter in your furnace each season so air can flow through without restriction. Having a clogged air filter will compromise the efficiency of your heating, making your furnace stay on longer to heat up your home. This will add extra wear and tear to your furnace as a result. An air filter can be replaced by sliding it out of the groove it sits within and sliding a new one in its place. Look for an air filter that helps remove allergens from the air for the best air quality possible. If you use oil for your heating source, switching out the oil filter should be done at this time as well. Turn off the oil valve, loosen the filter and place a new one in its place.
Check for Wearing
Take a look at your heating belt to see if it appears to be smooth instead of with cracks or rips within the rubber. If you notice any decaying portions, replace the belt with a new one. This is an inexpensive part that you can pick up from your furnace repair supplier or in a home goods store. Check the vent pipe for any cracks where air is escaping. If you see spots where heat is escaping before it makes its way to heating vents, they can be repaired by using foil tape to cover the gaps.