During the cold winter months, it's very important to make sure your gas furnace is working at peak efficiency. If your furnace breaks down during a cold snap, it can take hours to a few days to get a contractor out to repair the problem. While this might still happen, it's a good idea to perform some regular maintenance on your unit to ensure it's working properly.
Check the Burner
One of the first things to check on your furnace is the burner. First, shut off the appliance and remove the combustion chamber door exposing the inner equipment. Remove the burner cover carefully – some furnaces don't have one and that's OK. You might need to use a screwdriver to remove the screws that hold it in place.
Once you have the burner door open, turn the power back on to the furnace. Check that the flames of the burner are blue and are even. This can be done by turning up the thermostat and inspecting the flames to see what they are doing and how they look. If the flames are a yellow color, this means they are not burning correctly and should be repaired by a professional.
Clean the Burners
You should ensure that the burners are maintained and clean by vacuuming them out as well as the furnace base. Shut off the appliance and also turn off the gas supply to it. Vacuum the burners thoroughly and the base making sure you get most of the dirt and dust you see. While you have the panel open, check with a flashlight for any signs of soot, damage and any other repair that might need to be done by a professional.
Clean the Blower
The blower should also get a proper cleaning and check. Take the blower out of the unit and if it has a control panel, remove that as well. Next, vacuum the blower fan blades thoroughly and if you have to, use a small brush as well, getting rid of any dust you see. Do not put stress on the wiring or mess with the counterweights. If you are unable to clean the blower correctly, then don't do it yourself, have a professional do it for you.
Change the Filter
One of the easiest ways to care for your furnace is to keep the filters changed on a regular basis. These should be changed at least every few months depending on your model. A filter helps to protect the blower and motor and helps to prevent too much dust and dirt from circulating into your furnace as well as your home.
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