Furnance Maintance 101
When it comes to your furnace you need to be aware of how to clean it properly so that it will function properly. The biggest enemy of a furnace is dirt and dust. Having a dirty furnace will lead to wasted fuel and can drastically lower the efficiency of your furnace. All three basic components of your furnace are affected by dirt which is why cleaning is the most important step in maintaining your furnace regularly.
Parts of the Furnace that Require Maintenance
The three parts of your furnace that need to be cleaned thoroughly are the filter system, the blower and lastly the motor. At the beginning of the heating season and about once a month of continued use you should have the furnace filter replaced or cleaned. A good way to check if your filter needs to be cleaned or replaced is by removing the filter and holding up to the light. If you happen to notice that it clogged you should replace it with a new filter of the same type and size no matter how long the filter has been in use.
Cleaning the Blower Assembly
Be sure to clean the blower assembly, belts and pulleys to the blower just as well as the motor housing. Cleaning your furnace’s blower is vital if it has a squirrel cage fan. This is due to the opening in this type of blower as they all to often become clogged with dirt. In order to clean your blower, you must remove the panel that covers the filter to get access to the blower or panel on the front of the furnace. This type of panel may be slip fit on hooks or can be held by a series of retaining screws. The sliding out fan units help up by screws on a track is usually how to gain access to the inside of the furnace’s blower. If the power cord to fan assembly is not long enough to allow the fan unit to slide all the way outwards you will need to disconnect the cord. the Be sure to mark the wire connection first so you will be able to remember how to reassemble the unit properly. You can use a toothbrush to clean each fan blade and the spaces in between bladed. To remove all the dirt and debris you have made loose using the toothbrush you can use a vacuum cleaner hose to get rid of all the mess. The motor has belts and pulleys included in the housing of the motor and simply wiping the housing clean will help prevent the buildup of heat within the motor. Most motors have permanent lubrication and have been sealed by the manufactures so there is no need to do anything in this area. However, there are some motors which have covered oil port just above the bearings near the motor shaft. If this is the type of motor in your furnace it needs to be lubricated yearly. You will need to apply two or three drops of 10-weight non-detergent motor oil to each port and be sure it is not the all-purpose oil and not to over lubricate. The same procedure will need to be done if the shaft of the blower has oil ports as well by being sure it is lubricated annually. Making sure your motor will be running cool is to keep it clean and clean it properly. You will most likely have to remove an access place in order to get to all the ports. If the furnace blower has grease cups opposed to oil ports you will have to remove the screw caps that cover the caps and then fill the cups with a bearing lubricant. Bearing lubricants can be found at automobile and hardware stores.
Checking the Furnace Belts
While you are lubricating the motor you should also check the belts as well. If you see that the belts are worn or frayed you will need to replace them with new belts of the same size and type. To replace a belt you will need to use a wrench to remove the belt. Carefully loosen up the bolts with your wrench and be sure not to loosen the bolts all the way. They just need to be loose enough to move the motor in one direction slightly. Have the motor and the blower close together enough so the belt on will no longer be pulled tight and is ready to be taken off. Take the belt off by pulling around the wheel pulley and then the motor pulley. You should also inspect for any dirt or debris that may interfere with the motor or belt. When you are sure the area of where the new belt is to be placed is clean you can now place on the pulleys the motor’s side first and then the wheel side. Slightly pull the motor back and away from the blower again. The new belt should be tight but also show give about a half inch when pressure is applied. To be sure you can test by using a screwdriver to gently press on the belt in the middle of both pulleys. Once you get the motor in the position you want you can tighten the bolts back down. The next step would be to attach the panel back to the furnace, the circuit breaker can be back on if you had turned it off and then set your thermostat back to the normal settings. Once you power your furnace back up your new belt should have the motor running quietly and efficiently.
Using all these methods to keep your furnace clean and well maintained will ensure to have your system running nice and smooth. If you do not do this sort of yearly inspection and cleaning of your furnace, it can lead to easily avoidable problems. For example, a system can just simply wear itself our quickly, pump carbon monoxide into your or just stop working. This is what you want to avoid and can be done just keeping your furnace clean.