Everything You Need to Know About Furnace Maintenance

Your home’s furnace deserves careful, proactive maintenance year-round to keep it running reliably and efficiently for decades to come. Understanding proper preventative furnace care ensures you take all the right steps to maximize performance and longevity. Here’s everything you need to know about furnace maintenance and furnace service Portland.

Schedule Professional Annual Tune-Ups

Thorough maintenance tune-ups by experienced HVAC technicians are absolutely essential before every heating season. Tune-ups allow pros to fully inspect interior components, clean parts, check fuel supply lines, lubricate moving parts, test ignition sequences, replace air filters, confirm safe combustion, and validate proper functioning. Preventative pre-season tune-ups help catch minor issues before they become major, prevent costly breakdowns, and greatly extend the lifespan of your furnace.

Change Air Filters Frequently

Letting air filters become excessively dirty makes your furnace work much harder trying to push air through congested filters, wasting energy and taxing the system. Changing furnace filters at least every 3 to 4 months keeps air flowing freely and prevents strain. Electrostatic and pleated filters trap more airborne contaminants but require more vigilant replacement. Physically check filters monthly.

Regularly Clean Accumulated Duct Debris

Like dirty filters, dust and debris accumulation inside heating and cooling ductwork also severely strains proper system airflow. Have professional technicians deeply clean the interior of ducts throughout the home every couple years to vacuum out accumulated debris, dust and pet hair buildup. In between pro cleanings, vacuum accessible vents and registers yourself a few times per season. Properly cleaning ductwork improves efficiency and indoor air quality.

Inspect for Leaks, Holes and Disconnections

Visually inspect around the furnace unit itself and along any accessible ductwork runs for holes, separations at joints, or gaps indicating air leaks that allow heated or cooled air to escape. Also listen carefully for any hissing sounds indicating airflow leaks. Seal any found leaks with metal tape, mastic, caulk or spray foam to prevent efficiency losses from air escaping instead of circulating.

Test Emergency System Shut-Offs

Test emergency furnace shut-offs monthly to verify they work properly to completely deactivate the furnace when needed. Malfunctioning emergency shut-offs are a serious safety hazard if the system fails to shut down during an emergency. Also familiarize yourself with where the main fuel shut-off switch is located for emergency situations where it must be turned off.

Listen Closely for Any Unusual Noises

Be proactively attentive to any strange new sounds coming from the furnace like screeching, grinding, knocking or wheezing noises which typically indicate wear and tear on components may precede imminent failure. Have HVAC technicians adjust, repair, lubricate or replace parts making abnormal noises before they break entirely.

Watch Closely for Rust, Flames and Soot

Periodically visually inspect the furnace and associated venting for any areas of concerning rust accumulation or signs of scorching which may reveal developing combustion safety issues. Also clean any soot deposits you notice around furnace vents to ensure good indoor air quality. Take action promptly on any spotted furnace rust or flames.

Upgrade Older Mechanical Components

Have HVAC technicians proactively upgrade worn blower motors, circuit control boards, igniters, pressure switches, wiring and other mechanical components. Replacing aging ancillary parts and components before they actually wear out helps prevent more disruptive furnace breakdowns and failures down the road.

Maintain Proper Exterior Clearance Space

Don’t obstruct your furnace’s exterior or block intake vents with clutter, storage, furniture, or other items. Carefully maintain all manufacturer-recommended clearances around the full perimeter of the furnace for proper airflow, ventilation safety, gas combustion, and service access. Keep the furnace area open and unobstructed.

By utilizing professional preventative maintenance combined with proper proactive care, inspection, and filter changes, you can keep your home furnace performing like new and running safely and efficiently year after year. 

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