Dirty furnaces circulate dust and other pollutants through your house, causing allergies and making the air in your home feel stuffy. Learning how to clean your furnace will keep these particles away, saving money on energy bills and potentially preventing costly repairs or even replacement of the unit.
A professional cleaning will also remove accumulated grime from all the nooks and crannies in your furnace. Here are a few important reasons why this is important:
Changing your filter is one of the simplest maintenance tasks to perform and it has significant impact on your energy bills, indoor air quality and the longevity of your furnace. As filters get dirty, they become less and less effective at trapping contaminants in your home’s air. Dirty filters also create other problems that affect indoor air quality and HVAC equipment performance.
Furnace filters work to trap contaminants like dust, mildew, mold, and other particulate matter that circulates throughout your house or building. These pollutants are then heated or cooled and released into the air through vents. When filters are dirty, there’s not much surface area left to trap new contaminants passing through the system. These contaminants then enter your living space and cause allergies, respiratory issues and bodily irritations.
Clogged filters can cause the system to overheat. This can lead to costly repair and replacement costs for the heating and cooling equipment in your home. Filters can also cause the system to consume more energy than it would without a dirty filter, which will drive your utility costs up significantly.
When your filters are clean, they make it easier for the system to bring in fresh air and distribute that heated or cooled air throughout the living spaces of your home. Clogged filters can make the process of bringing in and distributing air more difficult, which can lead to uneven heating in different areas of your home.
When your filters are dirty, it’s important to change them frequently. Putting an alert on your calendar or using an app that reminds you to check and replace your filter is one way to keep on top of this task. Another option is to set up a regular delivery service that sends you a replacement filter on a scheduled basis, so you never forget. Before installing a new filter, vacuum it first to remove any large particles of dirt and hair that may be clogging it. It’s not a guarantee that this will extend the lifespan of your filter, but it can give you a few extra days before it’s time to replace it again.
Dirty ductwork makes your furnace work harder to keep the home at an even temperature. Ducts can get clogged with dirt, rodent droppings, and other debris. This requires the air conditioner and furnace to use more power to get the job done, resulting in higher energy bills. Cleaning the ducts regularly prevents these pollutants from building up and gives them a chance to work at their best.
Allergens and toxins like pet dander, dust, volatile chemicals, carbon monoxide, and pesticides are pulled into the HVAC system and then recirculated throughout the house. These contaminants can cause respiratory problems for those with allergies or asthma. They can also trigger coughing, sneezing, bronchial congestion, and sore throats. Cleaning the ducts eliminates these harmful particles and keeps them from recirculating, which can reduce or eliminate respiratory symptoms.
Over time, ducts can become full of debris and lint from the clothes dryer, stove, fireplace, and portable heating units. These contaminants can lead to clogged air conditioner coils and contaminated blower wheels. This leads to a loss of efficiency and a shorter life span for your system. It can also result in expensive repairs and replacements.
Dirty ducts are the perfect place for mold and bacteria to grow. These organisms feed on the contaminants in the ductwork and spread them throughout the house. They can also create musty smells that don’t go away, even with opening windows or using air fresheners. Duct cleaning removes the odor-causing substances and discourages rodents and other insects from nesting in the system.
A dirty ductwork can also make your thermostat inaccurate, which is another sign of problems with your HVAC system. Getting the ductwork cleaned can eliminate these issues and save you money on energy bills and maintenance costs.
While your furnace works hard to keep your home warm, it also takes in a lot of troublesome matter in the form of dust, hair, dirt, and other debris. This matter often settles on and in the burners of your furnace, causing a variety of problems, including less than ideal flame color, inefficient operation, and even dangerous malfunctions.
When the burners become clogged with gunk and other materials, it is very difficult for gas to fully combust in the chamber. This results in your heater having to work much harder to heat your home, leading to higher energy bills and more wear and tear on the unit over time. The fact that the burners aren’t burning gas properly can also result in the formation of carbon monoxide, which is very dangerous for your health and well-being.
Keeping on top of regular filter replacements will help to keep your furnace cleaner, but it is also important to clean the burners and their surrounding areas as well. You can do this by turning off the power switch and the gas valve, and then removing any access panels or covers on your furnace to expose the burners and other components of the unit. Once you have access to the burners, it’s important to decide whether or not you are going to clean them in place or if you would like to remove them. You will likely need a screwdriver in order to get into your unit, as well as a brass brush and possibly some sandpaper.
Once you have cleaned the burners and their surrounding areas, you should turn the power switch back on and then turn on the thermostat. You should then observe the flames inside your furnace – they should be a consistent, bluish color. If you see yellow or inconsistent flames, it is time to call a professional for cleaning and inspection services. This will save you money by catching any issues with your furnace before they grow larger, and it may even help to prevent major repairs before they become too expensive or dangerous.
Whether you use residential heating oil or propane, the tank in your furnace needs to be cleaned out at least once every five years. Over time, rust and water will accumulate in the bottom of your tank, creating a sludge that can be drawn into the oil outlet pipe and mixed with new oil. This can cause your furnace to clog and can lead to expensive repair or replacement costs.
A professional can thoroughly clean out your tank, leaving you with a cleaner, safer system. This is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your furnace functions properly and safely.
Furnace inspectors can look for lingering problems with your fuel supply, including residue, rust or other trace elements that degrade the quality of your oil. They can also check for contaminant levels in your oil, and they can determine if any previous owner left a dirty tank behind when you purchased the home.
Humidity is another problem that can damage your furnace, and a cold environment makes it easy for any lingering moisture to enter your system. Moisture can corrode the interior walls and metal linings of your tank, which is especially vulnerable if you have low oil supplies. Furnace professionals can help you monitor humidity levels and recommend alterations to bring the level down.
A furnace that is cleaned regularly will function more efficiently, which means it will take less energy to heat a house. This can save you a significant amount of money each year.
When you have a professional inspect your furnace each year, small issues can be corrected before they become costly repairs or even total system failure. Preventative maintenance focuses on solving problems before they happen, and a trained service technician is the best person to notice damage or issues that are difficult for the average homeowner to see. This is the most effective way to keep your furnace functioning at its best.