While it’s recommended that you hire furnace repair service professionals to maintain the furnace for you, you can maintain the unit by yourself. Here are tips on how to undertake DIY furnace maintenance:
Shut down the system
Everything should begin here. For you to avoid injuries or damaging your system, you need to shut off the system. All you need to do is to switch off the red power switch plate, which is often located at the top of the cellar stairs. You can also find it near the burner.
Do not undertake any activity before you switch off the unit.
Clean the combustion chamber
It is in the combustion chamber where fuel mixes with air and it ignites, generating heat. Carbon soot, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and other materials are formed here. When you allow a lot of soot to build up in the unit, the chamber walls are bound to corrode giving your unit an ugly look. The unit also tends to come apart after a short time.
You should use a wire brush to scrape off any carbon that might have built up in the unit. You should then go ahead and vacuum out the loose particles. It’s common for the chamber to have holes and be corroded. When you notice any issue with your unit, you should fix it immediately.
Change the oil filter
Do you have an oil powered furnace? You should inspect the oil filter and if dirty, clean or replace it. The filter prevents small particles from entering the oil-burner nozzle and clogging it. When there is clogging, the furnace is bound to backfire, shutting down the system.
For you to inspect the oil filter you need to start with closing the oil valve then remove the old filter. If too dirty or old, consider replacing it. After removing it, you should dispose it according to the local hazardous-waste regulations.
Change the air filter
All furnaces have air filters that determine the quality of air that gets into the house. All you need to do is to remove the air filter from its compartment and inspect it. If dirty, you should clean and reinstall it. If it’s too dirty, old, or damaged, you have no way out, other than to replace it.
While inspecting the air filter, you also should give a look at the blower belt. The blower is driven by an electric motor and moves the heated air from the furnace, through the ductwork, to the room vents.
If the belt is loose, it can slow the blower, compromising its efficiency, leading to high energy bills at the end of the month. If you notice the belt-deflecting more than ¾ when pressed firmly, you should consider adjusting it by sliding the motor backward a little bit.
Take a look at the flue pipe
The flue pipe has a great impact on the efficiency of the furnace. At least once a year, inspect the flue pipe for any leaks that might be there. Of major importance, pay attention to the area where the pipe meets the furnace.
Are there small holes on the pipe? Patch them up with foil tape. If the pipe is corroded, consider replacing it.
During the inspection, also consider adjusting the pipe’s barometric damper. This is a unit that moderates the chimney draw.
Clean the floor vents
Floor vents are magnets for pet hair, toys, food scraps, and dust. When you allow these materials to accumulate, they reduce the efficiency of the furnace, leading to a high energy bill at the end of the month.
For you to clean the vents you need to remove the floor registers and vacuum out the ducts. In addition to this increasing the efficiency of the furnace thus having a low monthly energy bill, it also makes you breathe much better as there isn’t much debris in the air.
Adjust the burner and testing efficiency
It’s good to know how efficient your unit is, as you don’t want to work with an inefficient furnace. To test the efficiency levels of the unit you need to set up a combustion analyzer. If you notice any issues, adjust the air gates for the proper ratio of fuel to air.
In addition to making the adjustments, furnace service Long Island professionals also recommend that you replace the oil nozzle.