How To Clean Your Furnace in Sacramento

furnace replace

As winter draws to a close, many of us are looking forward to warmer weather and a bit of spring cleaning. One more thing to add to your to-do list: New Window cleaning your furnace. Take care of it now and when it’s time to fire it up again later this year, it will be ready to give you its best. Here are a few simple pointers drawn from Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning’s many years of HVAC service in the greater Sacramento area.

Why Clean Your Furnace?

Furnaces rely on several components to do their jobs, including burners, sensors, blowers, and motors. The passage of time means the buildup of all kinds of dust, dirt, and grime that can cause your system to lose efficiency, lead to breakdowns, or even require a New Window new furnace installation sooner than you’d like. While the process can be a bit time-consuming, it does lead to an operation that’s more effective and safer. With all that in mind, your furnace should be cleaned once a year.

How to Clean Your Furnace

Now that you know the “why,” let’s get down to brass tacks.

Make Your Preparations

There are a few things to do before you start cleaning. The first is to gather the necessities. Locate your furnace’s owner manual and keep it handy; it’s a good idea to refer back to it for the anatomy of your furnace, and it will have troubleshooting tips if you’ve put everything back together and something goes wrong. Get your tools together as well:

  • Screwdrivers (flat and Phillips head)
  • Socket wrench
  • Vacuum with hose and upholstery brush attachments
  • A small brush with stiff bristles (like an old toothbrush)
  • Emery cloth with fine grit
  • A straw or other clean tube you can blow through
  • Machine oil (lightweight)
  • A new furnace filter
  • Lint-free cloths

Something else that’s helpful but not mandatory is an air purifier. If you own one, put it in the vicinity while you’re working; this process can kick up a fair amount of dust, especially if your furnace hasn’t been cleaned in a while, and the air purifier helps ensure you’re a bit less sneezy afterward.

Shut Off Gas and Electric to the Furnace

Switch the furnace’s power to the “off” position, but shut power at the breaker, too. After you’ve done that, shut off the gas to the furnace itself.

Clean the Exterior

Using a damp rag, wipe down the exterior of the unit. If it’s very dusty, you may need more than one rag. Next, remove the access door (it usually lifts up and out), and vacuum to remove dust from the furnace base and burners. You’ll also have access to the blower door; vacuum that, too. Once you’ve removed the dust, give everything a visual once-over. If you see signs of soot, call us; that’s an indication that your furnace isn’t burning fuel correctly and needs repair.

Remove and Clean the Blower

Some furnaces’ control panels block the blower. If yours is one of them, unscrew the control panel and let it hang. Use your socket wrench to remove the bolts that secure the blower and remove it carefully. Don’t forget to put your bolts in the coffee can!

Now that the blower is out, vacuum and brush it carefully. Get all the surfaces, since any dust you miss will just re-circulate through everything you just finished cleaning, or—if it’s stuck on the blades—will throw the fan out of balance and cause a racket (short-term) and damage (long-term).

Clean the Igniter and Sensor

Using your straw or tube, gently blow the dust off the pilot. Don’t use canned air for this, and don’t touch the igniter; it’s a sensitive part that’s very easy to break. The flame sensor can be removed from its bracket and cleaned with the emery cloth.

Lubricate and Double-Check

Check the drive belt for fraying and other signs of wear, replacing if necessary. Lubricate the blower motor and shaft bearings per your furnace’s manual. Reassemble everything, double-checking for stray screws. Finally, change your filters, reactivate your burners, turn up the thermostat, and make sure everything’s in proper working order.

The Easier Way to Clean Your Furnace

One thing we do not suggest is cleaning or adjusting your burners; that’s something better left to the professionals. Since that also needs to be taken care of periodically, why not save yourself time, aspirin, and about $75 in the swear jar? Call Contact New Window Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning for furnace maintenance, boiler maintenance, HVAC repairs, and anything else related to your home heating and cooling needs. We’ll do the work so you can do something more interesting with your day.