Furnace Maintenance – Proper Cleaning Procedure

Fuel usage and optimal efficiency are both attributes that can get bogged down with dirt accumulating in your furnace over time. Cleaning out dirt is perhaps the most vital aspect of the furnace maintenance process.

The three components that require cleaning are: the blower, the filter system and the motor. Let’s break it down:

  • The beginning of the heating season is when the filter needs cleaning or replacement. In addition, it is to be inspected (or replaced if you haven’t already done so at the start of the season) and cleaned at least once a month during periods when it is continuously used.
  • Checking the filter involves taking it out and holding it up in the light; if it’s clogged, it should be replaced without thinking twice, irrespective of the time it has been in use. Bear in mind it needs to be the same size and type.
  • Clean out blower assembly; belts and pulleys as well as the motor housing. If your furnace’s blower fan happens to be a “squirrel cage” type, cleaning it is absolutely vital as this type tends to accumulate dirt rather quickly.
  • To clean the blower, gently remove the panel that covers the filter; this gives you access to the blower/panel located on the front of the furnace. This panel could be held in place with screws or slip-fit hooks. Undo these to slide the fan unit out.
  •  The power cord to the fan assembly may not be long enough to allow the fan unit to slide out all the way out. Simply disconnect the cord but make sure the wire connections are marked so you can easily reassemble the unit.
  • Use a toothbrush to clean each fan blade along with the spaces between them. Now use a vacuum cleaner hose to get rid of the dirt and debris left behind by the brush. Don’t forget to vacuum belts and pulleys. Wipe the motor housing completely clean to avoid heat buildup during operation.

That’s pretty much it for a quick clean, but you should still have an expert come out and do a safety check. Your furnace is a gas firebox capable of causing fires and emitting poisonous gas.. Take care of your furnace so that it takes care of you during those chilly, often bitter nights, when you think of nothing more than getting cozy in front of the TV or enjoying a good night’s slumber.