Spring Cleaning: Five Tips For Cleaning And Maintaining Your Furnace

When was the last time you cleaned your furnace? If it's been longer than six months, it may be time to give it a check. Through regular cleaning and maintenance, you can reduce the risks of a furnace breakdown, minimize the need for furnace repair, and even save electricity by improving its efficiency. Here are a few key tips for thorough cleaning.

1. Replace the Filters 

Filters inside of your furnace and HVAC are generally rated for anywhere between three to six months. But many homeowners aren't aware that they need to change their filters more often if they have any environmental concerns, such as an unusual amount of dust or pets. Check your filter visually; if you can't see through the dust layer on it, it's full. 

2. Vacuum the Ducts

The ducts of your furnace are important for more than just whisking away dust. If the ducts are blocked, the furnace must work harder to push warm air throughout your home, leading to inconsistent temperatures and high utility bills. Even worse, dust-laden ducts can also be a fire hazard.

3. Clean Interior Parts

The interior parts of your furnace can be cleaned gently with a damp rag. The goal is simply to get as much dust and debris out as possible; otherwise, this material will simply get clogged in your vents or circulate around your system.

4. Seal the Vents

The areas around your ducts and your vents need to be properly sealed or hot air will easily escape. You should double check these seals regularly. They can be sealed with household duct tape -- in fact, that's just what it's for. If you don't seal your vents in a timely fashion, it's likely that the leaks will slowly get worse. 

5. Keep Safety In Mind

You should always turn off both the gas and electricity supply to your furnace before you do any form of maintenance on it. Gas, in particular, is incredibly dangerous; don't make any changes to your furnace unless you know what you're doing and have a reliable and tested gas detector on hand. This is true even if you're performing relatively mild repairs. 

Many HVAC companies offer full cleaning, maintenance, and repair services for homeowners who don't want to get into the intricacies of cleaning out their own system. Regardless, it is important to have a furnace maintained at least once a year, to make sure it's operating as it should and that it doesn't have any potentially dangerous issues. Click here for more information on furnace repair.