Winter is just around the corner, and although Florida winters are pretty mild, you never know when those random cold fronts will hit! You will need a reliable heater to keep you and your family warm, and fall is the perfect time to make sure your furnace is up for the task.
At Express Air Conditioning & Heating, we offer seasonal furnace tune-ups to maintain the health of your unit so that it can withstand those cold temperatures and harsh winds when needed. However, your furnace will require a bit more TLC throughout the year to ensure optimal performance. There are many maintenance tasks homeowners can complete on their own with no experience necessary! Read on to learn more about DIY heater maintenance.
Tools & Supplies Needed
As with any do-it-yourself project, you’ll need a few tools and materials at your disposal. Avoid any last-minute shopping and frustration by already having these supplies before you begin.
- Furnace service manual
- 4-in-1 screwdriver
- Shop vacuum
- Socket & ratchet set
- Small, stiff-bristle utility brush
- Fine-grit emery cloth
- ½ inch drain line
- Drinking straw
- Furnace filter
- Metal tape
Furnace Parts & How To Maintain Them
Furnaces may vary in looks, but they all have the same basic components. We’ll review each part and how to clean or maintain them to improve efficiency. If you are confused or do not feel comfortable completing a step, simply skip it and leave it for the pros!
In addition, pay close attention to the safety warnings on your unit, in the owner’s manual and in this article. If you can’t find the physical copy of your service guide, try looking it up online. Many websites help locate PDF versions of furnace manuals.
The four main sections of a furnace include the combustion chamber, the blower chamber, the return duct and the supply duct. If you have an oil furnace, the combustion chamber is dangerous to navigate and should only be serviced by a professional.
Combustion & Blower Chambers
1. To begin, flip the electrical power switch off. Next, remove the combustion chamber door and unscrew the burner cover if your system has one. To inspect the burner flames, turn the power switch back on and raise the temperature to activate the burners. Blue flames indicate healthy and clean combustion. Yellow flames mean the burners are dirty and should be adjusted by a professional. Do not attempt to adjust the burners on your own.
2. After inspecting the burners, you may turn the power switch off again to vacuum them. Vacuum any dust or debris collected on the burners and furnace base. Tape the ½ inch drain line onto the end of your vacuum hose to get to those hard-to-reach areas. Next, remove the blower chamber door below to vacuum the blower compartment as well.
3. In order to clean the blower, you will have to remove it. If your unit’s blower has a control panel in front of it, unscrew it to loosen it and let it hang. Grab your socket and ratchet to remove any bolts that hold the blower in place and lift it out. Using your small brush, gently clean the blower blades and vacuum the debris. Be careful not to disrupt the wiring or counterweights on the blades.
4. Depending on how big your house is and if you have pets, you’ll need to replace your furnace filter every 1-3 months. Any fiberglass filter will do the job, but you may consult the service manual for manufacturer recommendations as well.
5. A dusty pilot light can be hard to read, causing the flame sensor to yield false readings. To clean the pilot, utilize your drinking straw to help blow off any dust or debris to ensure a clear reading. If your furnace is a newer model, it may have a hot service igniter in place of a pilot. Igniters are incredibly delicate, so leave yours in its place. Simply blow air through your straw to clean it as you would a pilot.
6. If your flame sensor is dirty, it can prevent your furnace from lighting. Locate the flame sensor bracket and gently pull the sensor out to clean it. Lightly wipe off any residue collected on it with your fine emery cloth before slipping it back into place.
Return & Supply Ducts
1. Holes in your duct system may be causing air leaks. Prevent air from escaping by sealing any leaks you find in the return and supply ducts with metal tape or high-temperature silicone. Afterward, perform a back-drafting test to verify the combustion gasses go up the flue. Raise the thermostat to activate the burners and hold an incense stick or match up against the exhaust hood. The hood should pull in the smoke.
You should test this while all doors and windows are closed and with the bathroom fans running. Call a professional to inspect and repair if the smoke is not drawn in by the exhaust hood.
2. Sometimes, ductwork serves as both heating and air conditioning ducts. If your duct system does both, you may have to manually adjust the dampers for each season. There are summer and winter settings, so you should reset them accordingly.
Contact Us For Pensacola Heater Maintenance
Express Air Conditioning & Heating cares about the heating needs of our community. That’s why we offer 24/7 service so that you don’t have to wait in the event of an emergency. Our expert team is here to provide you with the reliable service necessary to ensure your heating system is operating as it should, especially when you need it to the most. That’s why you can trust us to provide a seasonal furnace tune-up for your system!
Check out our specials and give us a call today!