Tips for Maintaining a Furnace

Maintaining a furnace is an important part of taking care of your home. These tips and web extras provide information on the types of filters available and the best ways to keep a furnace in check.
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Maintaining a Furnace

Repairing HVAC

Repairing HVAC

Most furnaces last between 15 to 20 years. If repairs are significantly less than the cost of a new furnace, opt to fix. However, if the furnace is at the true end of its life cycle, avoid extra repair costs and replace with a more efficient model. Another factor? If the furnace is not sized correctly for the home, replacing it with the correct size will save you money and make the home more comfortable.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/geotrac

©iStockphoto.com/geotrac

  • Check to make sure the pilot light is burning. Some furnace units must be lit by hand if the pilot light goes out.

  • Follow the instructions for relighting usually printed on access doors. If you have difficulty relighting the pilot light, call a qualified heating contractor for advice.

  • Check the blower and vacuum out and dust or debris in and around the unit. Check or replace the filter every 30 days. A dirty air filter clogs the air flow and it can overwork the equipment.

  • Lubricate the blower motor.

  • Remove the flame shield and check the burner for corrosion. Check flames with the fan off and on to conform to proper operation.

  • Check the flue for gaps or dents and make sure it is venting properly to the outdoors.

  • Vacuum all the dust from the air registers around the house.

  • Check motion and make sure they are clear of furniture rugs, drapes, etc. to let the air flow freely.

Filter Information  

  • Spun Fiberglass Filters are the least expensive, disposable filters. They don't, however, adequately filter out finer particles.

  • Pleated Disposable Filters are more costly but will provide four to eight times the filtering capability of the spun fiberglass filters.

  • Washable Electrostatic Filters have a high initial cost but they are re-useable and offer much higher filtration rates.

  • Electric Filters and Mass Media Filters offer superior filtration but they require modification to the ductwork for installation. But note that installing these types of filters is not a do-it-yourself project; they should be professionally installed.
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