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Top Home Maintenance Tips for your Furnace

February 6th, 2016

A furnace is very important as it provides desired levels of comfort, especially during the colder months. As such, you have to ensure that you keep it in an operational condition at all times. If you detect a problem with it, call a certified technician immediately to rectify the issue. Some people are more adept than others at fixing it themselves by following troubleshooting guides or manuals that may accompany the furnace or by searching online. Whatever the case, some things that must be done when servicing the furnace include cleaning the individual fan blades with a brush before vacuuming it and vacuuming the area surrounding the blower. As you clean your furnace, search for the oil ports in the motor of the motor shaft and squirt a couple drops of non-detergent motor oil into the ports. Do this task on an annual basis.

There are a number of other common furnace problems that you can fix on your own. If you realize that you are unable to fully tackle any of these issues, call a qualified furnace repair technician to do the job for you.


Gas Leak

If you suspect that there may be a gas leak, do not light any matches and turn do not turn any light switches on or off. If the gas odor is very strong, evacuate your house immediately and leave the door open. Ensure that the gas valve is turned off before calling the fire department or gas utility department. Stay out of the house until you are given the okay to go back inside by the emergency services that are on hand.


No Pilot Light or Ignition

Older combustion fuel furnaces and gas furnaces have pilot lights while the newer models have an electronic ignition. If your furnace has a pilot light, ensure that the light stays lit. If it fails to stay lit, that could indicate a faulty or loose thermocouple or it could be that the pilot orifice is clogged or the flame is set too low. You can clear a clogged orifice using a thin wire. Before doing that, ensure that the gas is turned off.The manual that came with the furnace can also be consulted for more tips on dealing with that problem. If your furnace has an electronic ignition, switch off the power or turn down the thermostat before resetting the ignition control module. Look for the hot surface igniter glow and listen for the sound of a spark and then check and clean the flame sensor on the furnace.


Heating or Cycling Problem


If the furnace is on but it is not heating properly, consider the following:

  1. Ensure that the warm air flow is not obstructed.
  2. Check if the thermostat is properly set by raising the temperature and waiting a few minutes to see if there is a difference.
  3. Ensure that the room heating registers are open.
  4. Check the filter and replace it if it is dirty.
  5. If none of the above options work, call a furnace maintenance technician.


The Furnace Fails to Heat

In some instances, the furnace may fail to heat. This is mainly caused by a malfunctioning thermostat, a blown fuse, or a tripped circuit breaker. If your furnace fails to heat, consider doing the following:

a. Ensure that the thermostat is set to heat.
b. Check the fuse to see whether or not it is blown and that the circuit breaker is on.
c. Ensure that the furnace power is turned on.
d. Reset the motor if you suspect an overload.
e. Switch off and then on the power to the furnace on the electric sub-panel or panel.
f. Check the furnace ignition to be sure that the pilot light is on and the gas valve isnot closed.
g. Inspect the thermostat to ensure that it is working.

Furnace Blower Problems

If the motor runs but the blower does not move the air, the belt may be broken and needs to be replaced. Once replaced, the belt may be re-tightened in place as per the manufacturer’s specifications. You can also check to see if the fan or motor needs oiling. If you do not want to do all that yourself, call a qualified furnace repair technician to fix the problem.


Noisy Furnace or Ductwork

Most heating ducts are made of metal, hence they tend to vibrate and that sound travels through the ductwork making the furnace seem as if it is making noise.This issue can be easily addressed by asking a qualified furnace maintenance technician to insert flexible insulation between the heater and the ductwork. You can also troubleshoot your furnace as follows:

  • A popping or pining sound originating from the ductwork may be as a result of thermal expansion or air blowing over a loose flap in the duct material. Track the sound and when you locate it make a small dent in the sheet metal to ensure the surface is rigid.
  • If you hear rattling noises from the furnace cabinet, ensure that the panels are tightly covered.
  • Squealing sounds from a forced air furnace mean that the belt connecting the motor to the fan has slipped. Locate the belt and fix it in place.
  • For grinding noises originating from the blower, shut off the unit and call a repair technician.


Oil Burner Problems

When your oil burner goes off and on frequently, you need to clean or replace the filter. If that does not solve the problem, Contact your furnace technician.

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