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DIY Heater Maintenance

January 31, 2023 | Blog

Here in Arkansas, chances are your heating system lies idle most of the year. So, it’s easy to forget that just like your air conditioner, your furnace requires maintenance too. You need reliable heating for when those random cold fronts hit, so regular upkeep is crucial.

At Island Airco, we’re experts when it comes to proper furnace care, so we want to share some helpful guidelines for maintaining and optimizing your heating equipment throughout the year. Read on to learn more about do-it-yourself tasks as well as professional services for ensuring a warm and comfortable home for your family this winter!

DIY Heater Maintenance Tips

Before beginning maintenance on your heating system, make sure it is powered off. Remain cautious and pay close attention to any safety warnings on your unit and in the owner’s manual.

Vacuum The Burners

Use a shop vacuum or the hose of a home vacuum to remove any dirt and debris collected on or around your furnace base and burners. To clean any hard-to-reach areas, try taping a drain line to the end of your vacuum hose.

After cleaning the burners, power the unit back on and raise the thermostat setting to activate the burner flames for inspection. Ideally, the flames should be blue to signify healthy combustion. If the flames are yellow, you’ll need to call a professional.

Clean The Blower

Next, shut the power switch and gas off again to vacuum the blower compartment. To clean the blower itself, remove it by unscrewing the control panel in front of it, if you have one, and use a socket and ratchet set to unfasten any bolts holding it in place.

After gently lifting the blower out, use a small utility brush and your vacuum to thoroughly clean the blades. Be careful around wiring and the counterweights on the fan blades, as they can be thrown off balance. If you don’t feel comfortable completing this step, let an expert handle it.

Change Air Filters

Replace furnace filters every one to three months to ensure a smooth heating operation and healthy indoor air quality. When filters become dirty and clogged, they force your blower motor to work harder, lessening your unit’s overall efficiency and lifespan over time.

If you have pets or family members who suffer from allergies in your home, you may have to change filters more frequently or opt for higher-quality allergen filters. It’s best to consult the owner’s manual or a technician for recommendations for your specific furnace model.

Clean The Pilot

A dirty pilot light can cause the flame sensor to yield false readings, so it’s important to clear any debris gathered on or around it. If you have a newer furnace, there might be a hot surface igniter in place of a pilot light, but you can follow the same cleaning technique for either. Using a drinking straw, lightly blow air in the direction of the pilot or igniter to clear away any dust.

During this step, it is also a good idea to inspect the flame sensor for dirt and residue, which can prevent the furnace from lighting. To clean the sensor, gently pull it out of its bracket and wipe the surface with a fine emery cloth.

Seal Leaky Ducts

Return and supply ducts are responsible for sending warm air into your home, but wear and tear could compromise your system. To prevent air loss, inspect your ducts for cracks or holes and seal them with metal tape or store-bought sealant.

Dust and debris on air registers can also limit the air your home receives and lower your indoor air quality. You should regularly dust your air vents for healthy and proper airflow. If you notice any severe cases of dirt and mold or signs of significant damage, call a professional.

Seasonal Furnace Tune-Ups

In addition to DIY maintenance, you should schedule furnace tune-ups at least twice a year to ensure optimal performance. Just like your car requires routine oil changes, your furnace needs seasonal tune-ups to prepare for changing temperatures. Scheduling maintenance visits during transitional seasons like spring and fall are ideal.

During a tune-up, your technician will thoroughly inspect and test all components of your heating system to make sure it’s operating at peak efficiency. If they notice any issues, they will clean and repair faulty parts accordingly to prevent more expensive problems down the road. If need be, they will also provide replacement recommendations as they see fit.

Schedule Eureka Springs Heater Maintenance

Practicing routine furnace maintenance throughout the year will undoubtedly increase the overall effectiveness of your unit. However, when it’s time to schedule your seasonal tune-up, you can trust our certified experts at Island Airco to get the job done right. For more information about our HVAC services or to schedule a maintenance visit, give us a call!

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