Getting your furnace to last longer than the warranty may sound like an accomplishment, but when you keep up with your gas furnace maintenance, you can achieve this fete easily. Making sure everything works the way it should is the first step to prevent anything serious from happening. When something does perish and you replace it before the rest of your unit is affected, you will prolong all the running parts of your gas furnace.
There are quite a few things you can do yourself to maintain your gas furnace and then there are things that you will have to outsource to the professionals.
How To Maintain Your Gas Furnace
When you fine tune and maintain your gas furnace yearly, you make sure that your unit lasts so much longer and that you save yourself on heating costs. Apart from these cost-cutting measures, maintaining your unit will also add to your family’s health and safety because faulty ducts and pipes can be identified and replaced.
This job should not be attempted by just anyone. You will have to do your homework properly before even attempting such a big and potentially dangerous job.
Things that you will need to check to do the maintenance on your unit:
Filters – These should be clean and free of dust. For new homes, the filters will need more frequent changing, cleaning or replacing because there will still be a large amount of dust from the construction in the air in the home and this needs to settle first.
Lubrication – If you motor has a sealed oil unit then you will not need to do anything about it. Do not try to open the unit up. The motor will be self lubricating and will not need your attention. If the motor has an oiling port then 10 to 20 drops of electric motor oil should be sufficient to get your movable parts taken care of.
This is mostly as much as you can do by yourself. The burner unit and heating components should be inspected by a professional, but should last for a number of years without giving you a moment of trouble. Make sure the area around your furnace is clean and dust free and that none of the pipes and ducts are blocked, leaking or obstructed in any way.
Tips on Keeping Your Furnace Running For Longer
Keeping your furnace safe from any impact or movement due to the vibration is the first step. You will also need to keep the unit’s exposure to dust to a minimum. If dust gets into the ducts and vents, it can create blockages which will affect your efficiency as well as the quality of the heat to your home. Keeping debris and dust to a minimum is a must.
You should also make sure that the environment the unit is in is pest free. Once a rodent has started chewing through wires, it will start to create problems as well as costing you a fortune in repair costs because the wiring of the unit is not easy to replace.
- Filters should be checked regularly and the unit should not be run without these filters. This could lead to the dust being sucked into the unit and causing all kinds of problems.
- The motor itself should also be cleaned and blown free of dust. Once dust mixes in with the lubrication of the unit, you will start experiencing more and more gradual wear and tear to the unit.
- Get a professional to look at all of the mechanical parts inside the machine to make sure they are mechanically sound and that they are cleaned and replaced properly and tested before you switch the unit back on again.
- With a motor consisting of metal parts, there is always the need for lubrication to make sure that there is no wearing away of the mechanical components. Always make sure that your unit’s motor is well lubricated and that only the best quality oil is used to lubricate it. You do not need the oil to burn and cake the moving components.
What You Can Do
If you are still insisting on doing it by yourself, there are a few things to which you must pay close attention.
If you have a plastic filer, you can vacuum clean it and then wash with soap and water and air dry until it is completely dry before refitting the filter. A cardboard or paper filter will have to be replaced. This is the only way to make sure the filter is clean and dry and is not damaged during the cleaning process. Rather replace all paper filters to ensure quality and cleanliness of the air being pushed through the ducts and vents.
Bearings of motors with oiling ports should not be over oiled. These bearings only need to be lubricated every five years and not a lot of oil should be applied. Ten to Twenty drops of high quality electric motor oil should be enough.
With self-lubricating units, no further attention should be necessary as the units are sealed and cannot be opened or checked.
The reason why a skilled person should handle this step of the maintenance is because the oiling ports can only be accessed by removing the blower assembly and motor should be removed from the unit. The wiring should be marked and removed from the blower motor and the screws removed before the unit is opened up.
Burner and Heating Components:
To service these parts the electric power should be switched off to the unit and the thermostat should be set to its lowest setting. These steps in not recommended for do-it-yourself projects because the motor can be seriously damaged if you do not have extensive experience and you can injure yourself quite badly if you are not careful and not aware of the risks and dangers that comes with servicing this unit.
Things You Will Not Be Able To Do Yourself
Because there are many points and parts on the gas furnace that need to be handled with care and skill, you will not be able to maintain and repair all of the components by yourself. This is both for the sake of the furnace as well as your safety.
Even though the unit is fired by gas, it is still electrically powered and this can lead to electrocution if you should forget to switch the power off. This could be a small step in a very large process, but is probably one of the most important not to forget.
You could also blow the motor if you do not mark the wiring properly and you place them back in the wrong order. The wiring should be handled by trained professionals only. Because the lubrication of the bearings involves taking the wiring off, you should seriously consider whether you want to attempt this step by yourself.
Cleaning the motor and all of the mechanical parts should only be handled by a professional as they will know which components have to be removed in which sequence and will know how to put the unit back together again without damaging the parts or compromising the unit’s fuel efficiency.
You should also not work with the unit’s fuel lines. Should the pipes start to leak, this can lead to serious health issues for you coming into direct contact with the gas and for the rest of the household or business who will be breathing in the gas through the ducts and vents leading inside the home.
Warnings When Dealing With Gas Furnace Maintenance
The usual precautions when dealing with gas and electricity will all count while you are doing maintenance on your unit.
Make sure that all components are dry and put in their proper place when assembling the unit again. This precaution will count especially for the air filters if you are replacing them yourself.
If you are bringing in a professional to maintain or service your unit and they switch the gas and power supply off, it is for a good reason and you should never switch these on again without consulting with the technician working on your unit.
When working with the gas line, you will do well to wear a mask to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and wear protective gloves and glasses as well. These are precautionary safety measures, but they are put in place with good reason as working with combustible gas and electricity, you can never be too careful.
If you have never attempted to service your unit yourself, it would be better to call in the experts as this is safer for you and your home. You can observe what they do and ask questions, but some of the maintenance process should only be done by trained professionals because of the health issues surrounding this kind of work.
Maintaining your unit can be easy and painless, but you will need to have it done once a year to make sure your gas furnace lasts longer and if safer to use in the long run.