Even if winters don’t exactly get Arctic-cold in Southern California, it doesn’t mean that you want your gas furnace to go out. The best way to avoid potential trouble on those chilly evenings is with regular furnace maintenance. Keeping your furnace clean and in good working order means it’s always ready for that unexpected cold front.
To keep your gas furnace working when you need it, we recommend an annual furnace checkup. During the rest of the winter, follow these seven furnace maintenance tips to keep the heat coming:
- Work under safe conditions
Before you do anything, make sure you’re working safely. Gas can be dangerous if you don’t handle it correctly. Before you begin any serious furnace maintenance, make sure you turn everything off. If you’re not 100% sure what you need to turn off to get the work done, trip the main circuit breaker to verify your safety during the maintenance process.
Finally, if you smell gas, don’t try to shut anything off or turn it on–instead, leave the premises immediately. Have a professional flush the gas from the house and fix the leak before you do any more work.
- How to Check Your Furnace Filter
A gas furnace’s filter prevents dirt from entering the unit and building up. Build up can lead to malfunctions or even fires. A filter also keeps the warm air blown into your home clean. Check your filter at least once every other month. This holds true for summer as well as you run your air conditioner.
Your filter is simply a cardboard rectangle with a mesh covering. It easily slides in and out of its designated slot, usually at the bottom of your furnace. You can find most replacement filters at your local hardware or home improvement store.
- Test your thermostat
If the temperature setting on your thermostat doesn’t match the actual temperature, you may have one of two furnace-related problems:
- The thermostat itself has stopped working.
- There’s a disconnect between the wall unit and the furnace.
Either way, if this happens frequently, you’ll want to repair or upgrade your thermostat. A new, programmable energy efficient thermostat isn’t expensive and usually pays for itself in energy cost savings.
- Clean the blower
While checking the filtration system, also check the blower. The blower is further inside, and you should be able to see it when you change the air filter. It’s a circular intake with a wheel-like fan.
Wipe the blower down with a damp cloth each time you change the filter. Cleaning the blower prevents dust or dirt that may have escaped through the filter from getting further inside the furnace.
- Regularly check and clean your vents
All gas furnaces have a venting system that prevents unsafe heat build-up. Just like with anything else that never moves, dust builds up both on and within furnace vent systems. Clean them with a scrubbing brush, vacuum cleaner, and damp cloth to ensure their continued effectiveness.
Inspect your flue pipe for cracks or holes where dangerous carbon monoxide could leak.
- Inspect the fan
This maintenance is best left to a professional. It isn’t as easy to get to the fan within the furnace as it is to get to everything else. Getting pre-winter furnace maintenance is recommended to keep up with part changes and cleaning needs. Don’t let small problems become big.
- Clean Your Air Ducts
Vacuum them out or have a professional do it. Dust, pet dander and debris that builds up inside your ducts eventually gets blown all over your home. Clean ducts work better and mean cleaner air.
Annual Furnace Maintenance in Los Angeles
Keeping your furnace clean is the easiest way to extend its life and keep it from breaking down. Hopefully this furnace maintenance checklist helps you get started.
Not everyone is up to this level of DIY maintenance. If you want a certified technician to perform your gas furnace cleaning, the trained professionals at Mike Diamond are ready and waiting to help you out.