It can be quite the difficult task in figuring out the issues of a broken furnace, along with the stress of high repair costs. Routine maintenance can prevent most furnace disasters from reoccurring.
Inspect your furnace filters on a monthly basis. Most disposable filters should be changed once a month, although some may last longer. Any permanent filters should be washed and rinsed once a month.
Installing and testing carbon monoxide detectors can essentially save your live. It’s recommended to have them on each floor of your home. Carbon monoxide in large amounts is fatal and detectors are required by law in 25 states.
Before you begin maintenance, turn off the power and fuel supply to avoid any bodily harm. If you are unsure of how to relight a pilot light, DO NOT attempt to do it yourself; call a professional. Test the furnace belts and replace them if they are cracked or frayed. Belt-driven systems need to be oiled annually with just a few drops of oil.
Reset the damper as the season changes. The damper should be clearly marked and easy to set in the right place. Dampers in other parts of your home may require adjusting throughout the year.
Check the burner flames. This is the ONLY time where it’s okay to leave the power and fuel supply. Remove the combustion chamber door and observe the flames, which should be be fairly even and blue. If they’re yellow, you’re either breathing on them or there’s something wrong with the burners. Call in a professional; do not adjust the burners yourself.
To clean the blower, carefully remove it from the furnace and vacuum it thoroughly. Be sure not to jostle any wires too much. If you’re not confident in cleaning the blower, don’t do it. An improper cleaning can unbalance the system.
Full furnace inspections should be handled by certified professionals, at least once a year.
Knowing When to Let Go
Proper routine care of your furnace will sustain its life; however it will eventually give out. Most furnaces will last anywhere from 18 – 22 years if properly maintained.
Problematic furnaces or ones with faulty heat-exchangers need to be replaced, as well as older furnaces. Newer furnaces are often more efficient and are easier to maintain too.