How to Clean a Furnace? | Tools and Materials for Cleaning a Furnace
Are you looking for an informative guide that can help with cleaning and maintaining a furnace? If yes, then this blog is perfect for you! Known as the powerhouse of the HVAC system, furnace care, and maintenance is essential to extend their functionality and overall health in the long run. Hiring trained HVAC specialists can help with annual servicing to maintain your furnace’s running efficiency.
Make sure it is well-cleaned and free of obstruction at the start of each chilly season. But cleaning semi-annually will help prevent future problems and keep your furnace in working condition. Regular cleaning is advisable in almost every furnace usage. With a step-by-step guide, furnace cleaning will be easily possible.
Before you begin reading about furnace maintenance and care, you should know your furnace’s three essential components. This can be affected by the availability of dirt, and these parts are the blower, filter, and heat exchanger. Individual cleaning of each part helps the furnace to last longer and operate smoothly without any hindrance.
How Often Should You Clean Your Furnace?
It is recommended that furnaces be cleaned and inspected at least once a year. Ideally, this should be done in the fall, before the heating season begins. Regular furnace maintenance can help improve the efficiency of the system, prevent breakdowns, and extend the lifespan of the equipment.
It is important to have a qualified HVAC technician perform the cleaning and inspection to ensure that the job is done properly and safely.
What Are The Tools and Materials Required For Furnace Cleaning?
Here is the list of tools you will require to effectively clean your furnace at home.
• Scrub brushes
• Replacement filters for disposable filters
• Damp cloth
• Strap wrench
Other specific equipment and material may be needed based on the design of the furnace. Using the right tool makes cleaning tasks more comfortable and better. That’s it for this Section; now let’s see the important thing: how to clean a furnace? Keep reading.
Step-by-Step Guide on How To Clean a Furnace:
As said earlier, there are three major parts of the furnace, and cleaning each of them is a must. Each part has particular and different maintenance and cleaning steps.
Therefore, you must know how to effectively clean each of these components if you are eager to prevent costly repairs and extend the life of your appliance.
Step 1- Disconnect the furnace’s power supply
First of all, you need to disconnect the power source to the equipment in order to perform the cleaning process. Turning off is crucial to avoid electric shocks or any other unwanted danger. To disconnect the electric supply, you have two different ways.
- Disconnect the electric switch on the furnace
All you need to turn off the switch typically found near or on the equipment. You simply flip the power button to the off position.
- Disconnect the circuit breaker
Or, you’ll need to find the circuit breaker that operates the furnace. In most scenarios, the circuit breaker is located on the circuit breaker box. To disconnect it, just flip the switch off.
Safety tip: Confirm that the power supply is disconnected by starting the furnace. If it does not start, it means that the power supply is off properly.
Step 2- Take off the furnace Cover
- You will need to remove the entire front panel of your furnace in order to perform the next step. This way, you can easily access the internal components of the blower.
- This is The only way to get the entire internal unit out and clean it thoroughly is to remove the cover. However, depending on the furnace you choose, this job may generally require a screwdriver or other tool.
- Well, removing the cover is as straightforward as unscrewing the various screws and prying the cover off its supporting hinges.
- Once the front panel is removed, set it aside for a smoother cleaning job.
Step 3- Gently lift out the fan unit
- Most of the work for the blower assembly is successfully done by the fan unit. It keeps in place by a track to prevent it from rotating in the blower chamber.
- In order to gently lift out the fan unit, you just slide it out via the side of the chamber.
- If the fan is secured by bolts in position, you have to use a screwdriver to disassemble it. Since the fan is connected with plenty of wires, avoid damaging or disconnecting the wire by fault.
- Label each wire and cover it completely with tape if the wire becomes disconnected. Doing so may make re-installation easier. Also, remove the tape before installing the wires back into the fan unit.
Step 4- Clean the internal compartment of the Furnace
- After removing the front panel and taking off the fan unit, it’s time to clean the internal compartment of the furnace. To start cleaning, you need to have a soft-bristled brush. Removing loose debris and dust can be easy with the help of this tool.
- Do not damage any components of the furnace while cleaning.
- If the inside of the furnace is full of dust and debris, you should have a vacuum cleaner that has a brush attachment. This will help in cleaning the compartment thoroughly.
- Don’t forget to check that the cleaner you use is specifically designed for use on delicate equipment or appliances like furnaces.
- Meanwhile, keep an eye on the fan blades and blower motor because these can accommodate a lot of dust and debris over time. You can use a vacuum cleaner or brush to eliminate as much dust as possible from these nooks.
Step 5- Wash Fan Blades and Wipe off the blow motor
If required, you can take off the fan blades and blower motor for overall cleaning. To do this, you need to inspect the screws and clips that keep on holding these parts in place.
- Once the fan blades are separated, wash them with simple water or mild soapy water.
- Or use a toothbrush or soft-bristled brush to remove grime from the fan blades. Do this carefully, as you may damage the blades and thus affect the performance of your unit.
- You can also use a handheld vacuum cleaner to clean the unit thoroughly.
- Set the vacuum to low power, moving the belt, fan, and blades over. To clean the blower motor, take a damp cloth and rub it.
Step 6- Replace or Clean the Furnace Filter
The furnace’s filter can collect debris, loose dust, or other particles. If not cleaned for a long time, the filter can become clogged or dirty, slowing down the furnace’s efficiency and reducing airflow.
In most furnaces, the filter will come out easily. To do so, you need to remove the filters from the tracks. Avoid forcefully removing as it can damage the filter and tracks. If the removal is hassle-free, straight away it takes to cleaning. But you should ensure that the filter is damaged or not. If you find damage, replacing is the best option instead of cleaning. To clean the filter, follow the steps below:
- Remove the filter from the furnace.
- In the case of reusable filters, rinse them gently with soapy water.
- Let it allow drying thoroughly before replacing it.
- In the case of disposable filters, change them with a new one.
- If your new filter still doesn’t work properly, make sure it’s the right size and model for the furnace. Once the filter is in place, close the access panel and screw the panel door back on.
Important Note: You are advised to replace or clean the furnace filter at least once every three months. The replacement or cleaning period will be shorter if you live in a dirty environment or have pets.
Step 7- Inspect Air ducts for clogs and dirt
The air duct of the furnace plays a crucial role in spreading warm air over your home all around. With prolonged use, these ducts can become clogged or blocked with dust or debris, thus affecting the overall efficiency of the furnace.
- First of all, disconnect your furnace.
- To check for blockages, you need to inspect the ducts with a torch.
- Check for any dust or debris and clean it with a brush or vacuum cleaner.
- You can also use a damp cloth for the cleaning task. However, damp clothes may not be sufficient, so you will have to use a brush.
- Lastly, place the furnace back in its position.
- Put it switches again into its fuel or power sources. Remember to make sure everything is working adequately.
- If you have a lot of blockages or dust in your ductwork, you’ll need to hire a professional HVAC specialist. They will inspect more closely with the help of professional equipment such as snake or duct cameras.
An HVAC specialist is trained to perform a thorough cleaning to eliminate obstructions. Additionally, they are able to improve the efficiency of the airflow of the furnace. As a suggestion, you need to inspect and clean air ducts for at least three to five years. Doing so will help improve the air quality of your property and ensure proper airflow.
Other cleaning and maintenance tips:
Clean the burners
If you find rust and grime on the burner, you’ll need a stiff-bristled brush to clean it thoroughly. After this, blow the burner vestibule area with the help of pressurized or nitrogen gas.
Inspect the flame sensor
Residue can often build up on the surface of the flame sensor, preventing your appliance from lighting up. In this case, you need to put the flame sensor out of its position. After this, gently clean its surface with a clean cloth. Position it back, and you’re good to go.
Lubricate the motor bearings
To do so, use a clean cloth or tissue to clean the caps on the bearings. Take it off and add some drops of equipment oil. Avoid pouring excessive oil. Put the lids back in their position when you’re done. Also, don’t forget to Inspect for gas leakages.
In a nutshell, the cleaning procedure takes minimal effort, and a few minutes will make the furnace as new as before. In addition, it will keep your furnace working at its maximum level. Always keep in mind that the DIY furnace cleaning process can save you thousands of bucks and time by cutting costs on energy bills, increasing the maximum efficiency of the equipment, and eliminating the possibility of facing costly repairs.
Video On How To Clean A Furnace
Can I clean my furnace myself, or do I need a professional?
It is recommended to have a professional HVAC technician clean your furnace. They have the experience and equipment necessary to perform a thorough cleaning and inspection, and can also identify any potential problems with the system.
What does a furnace cleaning involve?
A furnace cleaning typically involves cleaning the blower motor, fan blades, and air filter, as well as inspecting the heat exchanger, burners, and other components. The technician may also perform a carbon monoxide test to ensure that the furnace is operating safely.
How often should I have my furnace cleaned?
It is recommended to have your furnace cleaned and inspected at least once a year, preferably before the heating season begins.
Can I clean the air filter myself?
Yes, you can clean the air filter yourself. Simply remove the filter and gently clean it with a soft brush or vacuum cleaner. However, if the filter is very dirty or damaged, it may need to be replaced.
What can I do to keep my furnace clean between professional cleanings?
To keep your furnace clean between professional cleanings, make sure to regularly replace the air filter and keep the area around the furnace clean and free of debris. You can also schedule regular maintenance with a professional HVAC technician to ensure that your furnace stays clean and efficient.