The best way to avoid potential problems on those cold Pittsburgh evenings is to maintain your furnace regularly. Keeping your furnace clean and in good condition will always ensure it is prepared for an unexpected cold front.
To keep your gas furnace running when needed, we recommend an annual inspection of your furnace. Follow these furnace maintenance tips throughout the rest of the winter to keep the heat in the furnace:
Work under Safe Conditions
Before you do anything, make sure you are working safely. Gas can be dangerous if you don’t handle it properly. Before you begin any serious maintenance on your furnace, be sure to turn everything off. If you are not 100% sure what you need to turn off to get the job done, trip the main switch to check your safety during the maintenance process.
Finally, if you smell gas, don’t try to turn anything off or light anything. Instead, leave the area immediately. Have a professional flush the home’s gas and repair the leak before doing any other work.
How to Check Your Furnace Filter
The most common cause of furnaces not working properly is a dirty filter. A gas furnace filter prevents dirt from entering and accumulating in the unit. The accumulation can cause malfunction or even fire. A filter also ensures that the hot air blown into your home stays clean. Check your filter at least every few months or as directed by your HVAC contractor. This also applies in the summer and when you run your air conditioning.
Your filter is simply a cardboard rectangle covered in mesh. It slides easily in and out of the designated slot, usually at the bottom of your furnace. Most replacement filters can be found at your local hardware or department store.
Test your thermostat
If your thermostat’s temperature setting doesn’t match the actual temperature, you may have one of two boiler-related problems:
- The thermostat itself no longer works.
- There is a break between the wall unit and the furnace.
However, if this happens frequently, you may want to consider repairing or upgrading your thermostat. A new energy-efficient programmable thermostat is cost-effective and usually pays for itself in energy savings.
Clean the Blower
When checking the filtration system, also check the fan. The fan is further inside and you should be able to see it when changing the air filter. It is a circular inlet with an impeller-shaped fan.
Every time you change the filter, wipe the fan with a damp cloth. Cleaning the fan will prevent any dust or dirt that may have escaped through the filter from getting further into the furnace.
Regularly check and clean your vents
All gas furnaces have a ventilation system that prevents dangerous heat build-up. As with anything that never moves, dust collects on and in furnace ventilation systems. Clean them with a brush, vacuum cleaner and damp cloth to ensure their long-lasting effectiveness.
Check your chimney for cracks or holes that could leak dangerous carbon monoxide.
Inspect the Fan
It’s best to leave this conversation to a professional. Accessing the fan inside the furnace is not as easy as accessing everything else. It is recommended to have the furnace serviced before winter to keep up with part changes and cleaning needs. Don’t let small problems become big ones.
Clean Your Air Ducts
Vacuum it or leave it to a professional. Dust, pet hair, and debris that builds up in your ducts will eventually be blown throughout your home. Clean ducts work better and provide cleaner air.
Get your Home Comfort Plan in Pittsburgh with TUDI!
Keeping your furnace clean is the easiest way to extend its life and prevent breakdown. I hope this furnace maintenance checklist helps you get started.
Not everyone is up to this level of DIY maintenance. If you would like to have your gas furnace cleaned by a certified HVAC technician, the trained professionals at Tudi Mechanical Systems are here to help.