5 Essential Furnace Maintenance Tips

When is the last time you performed maintenance on your furnace?

Guest Post by HomeAdvisor

With colder weather coming, your heating system will work overtime to keep your house warm. To prevent a call to a heating professional during peak season, take a look at your furnace and perform preventative maintenance now. Here are some tips to help you keep your furnace healthy:

#1 Look at the air filter.

Check the furnace air filter on a monthly basis for any dirt and debris. If it’s been working hard to battle drafts or cold nights, it’s probably accumulated some dust. Too much dirt can lead to reduced efficiency and failure of the furnace. When that is an imminent threat, you need to change out the filter. Use the old one to find a new filter that fits in your furnace.

#2 Vacuum around the furnace.

Dirt and debris can also build up inside the furnace and its parts. So, you will need to vacuum inside every once in awhile. Open the door and use a cleaner’s attachment to get any debris out of the base and burners. You should also vacuum in the crevices behind the furnace.

#3 Inspect fanbelt.

The furnace’s fanbelts wear down and loosen over time, so check them occasionally and make replacements as needed. These are essential in moving the blower. If one is loose, you can sometimes tighten it by loosening its bracket. Otherwise, you will need to put a new fanbelt in.

#4 Lubricate bearings.

In older furnace models, the bearings will need regular oiling. You can use household oil to keep them lubed and in good condition for the winter ahead. Find the oil caps and remove them. Be sure not to put too much oil in though, or you could be looking at a potential fire hazard in your furnace.

#5 Keep vents clean and clear.

Though not a part of the furnace itself, the vents help to move the hot air it produces through the rest of the house. If the vents are filled with dirt and debris, your rooms will fail to warm. Use a vacuum cleaner or duster occasionally to get dust out. If you have a lot of vents or a very large home, you can have them professionally cleaned for about $330. Otherwise, your furnace will work harder to warm your rooms, which increases your gas bill.

Getting a pro out for inspections

Heating contractors can do a more in-depth inspection of your furnace and may find potential problems that, unaddressed, could lead to expensive repair costs. For example, they can make sure your thermostat is working with the furnace and can also:

  • Tighten connections
  • Oil all the moving parts
  • Inspect the connected gas lines

If you think your heating system might need some additional work or cursory maintenance outside of what you can do on your own, schedule a maintenance appointment with a local professional.

Andrea Davis is the editor at HomeAdvisor, which connects homeowners with home improvement professionals in their area for free. Connect with Andrea on Google+

Cover images from DesignMine

Lindsay is the the Director of Media Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate and manages the brand’s media and social media department. She is also a licensed real estate professional. In 2017 & 2018, she was named a top 20 social influencer in the real estate industry in the annual Swanepoel 200 power rankings.

Lindsay lives in Livingston, NJ with her college sweetheart and now husband Joe and rwelcomed another Joe into her life as she became a mom in June 2016.

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  1. John manlove
    November 6, 2015

    First of foremost get a carbon monoxide test done on your furnace before you prepare any work this will save you a lot of money

  2. Zachary Collins
    November 9, 2015

    If your furnace has fan belts… you should heavily consider replacement. All equipment has a shelf life, and a residential furnace with a fan belt would be near 30years old or older… very unsafe with the old cast iron heat exchangers.
    Carbon monoxide detectors are highly recommended. Location of them is very important. If not properly located, the home can have deadly levels of the odorless gas before going off!

  3. Reza Naghshineh
    June 19, 2016

    Your maintenance tips Lindsay are great. If you can do it by yourself by cleaning your heating system that would be great. But, not everyone know how to clean it properly, probably you can damage your heating system that force you to buy a new one. Call the professional furnace repair and cleaning team in your local area. You cannot be wrong when professional do their handwork for better heating system this coming winter.

  4. Michael Birov
    June 26, 2016

    Great post Lindsay, not everyone can do it at home. When your furnace maintenance team visit to your home for appliance repair make sure to pay attention to what they are doing. Ask them and later on you can do the basic maintenance by your own. Many great information and tips can be found online that can really helps.

  5. Ridley Fitzgerald
    April 3, 2017

    Thanks for the tips for taking care of the furnace. It makes sense that I should be vacuuming around the machine, since it gets pretty dirty in there. I haven’t done anything for the furnace in years, so I thought I would do some research.

    • Lindsay Listanski
      April 4, 2017

      Glad you enjoyed the article Ridley!

  6. John A
    September 25, 2017

    Thanks for sharing Lindsay, a big part of keeping your furnace running safe and efficient is replacing your air filter. Having the proper amount of air going through the heater makes sure the heater does not over heat. Just like when running your air conditioner a dirty air filter can cause it to freeze over, with a heating system you can over heat your heat exchanger/firebox and reduce the life of the heating system. All five of those should be taken care of by a professional HVAC Contractor atleast one visit for your Heating system and one visit for your Air conditioner.


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