Fall Furnace maintenance -- Four issues that need to be addressed every fall before you crank up the heat

 

Combustion Chamber

Before you even think about doing anything, turn off the power and fuel supply to the furnace. Flip the on-off switch on the furnace itself. Next, find the fuel shutoff valve and turn it off. Remove the door to the combustion chamber and vacuum the filth off the interior. Inspect for any cracks caused by corrosion. If you find any, get on the phone and call your local HVAC tech. This is a job that should be left to professionals.

Blower Compartment

Take off the door to the blower compartment and thoroughly clean the inside with a vacuum cleaner. Make sure to look in the blower compartment and in the exhaust flue for any cracks or holes that might present. Again, if you find any, get on the phone and call your local HVAC tech. This is a job that should be left to professionals.

Furnace Filter

Contrary to widespread belief, furnace filters are designed to trap dust, dirt, and debris before they can enter the furnace and damage it’s components. During heating season, clean or replace furnace filters every 1 to 3 months. This is an appropriate time to think about your home’s thermal envelope. If you have a tight home, you might want to invest in better air filters to trap mold and allergies. (Don’t know how tight or leaky your home is? Call your local home performance expert. They will be able to run a blower door test on your home.)

Motor Bearings

Older furnaces have multiple motor bearings and multiple blower-shaft bearings. Both sets should be lubricated no less than once per year. Take a clean cloth and wipe the caps over the bearings. Remove the caps and apply two-to-three drops of lightweight machine oil to each bearing. DO NOT OVER LUBRICATE! Finish By placing the caps back to their original positions.