The last thing that you want on a cold winter night is to discover that your furnace is not working properly. In most cases, furnaces do not need a lot of work or maintenance, but there are several things that you can do to keep yours in good working condition. Before the temperatures drop, the following will ensure that your furnace will keep you warm during the coldest months of the year.
Check the Burner Flame
The burners inside your furnace are essential for providing an adequate amount of heat to warm your home. Before it gets really cold, check the burner flames to ensure that they are working properly. This can be done by turning on your furnace and setting your thermostat to a temperature that will kick the heater on. The burner flames should be blue; if they look yellow, that is a sign that the burners are dirty and need to be serviced. If you notice yellow flames, call in an HVAC professional—DIY furnace repair for this component is not recommended.
Make Sure Your Furnace is Clean
Dirt can clog your furnace, preventing it from running efficiently. You can prevent this problem by cleaning it in the fall before it starts to become cold enough to need to heat your home. The first thing you will want to do is take a look at the furnace filter—if it looks dirty when you hold it up to the light, your best bet is to replace it. Next, open the panel that covers the filter to access the blower. This part often gets caked with dirt and debris, but it is easy to clean it with the hose of a vacuum.
Lubricate the Furnace Motor
There are many different models of furnaces on the market. Some furnace motors are sealed, and do not need to be lubricated ever. But other models have oil ports where you should deposit oil each fall to help keep the furnace motor lubricated and running smoothly through the winter. If your furnace has oil ports, make sure you use nondetergent oil, not all purpose oil when you're performing maintenance.
Replace Furnace Belts
Furnaces with blowers have belts on both the motor and the belt, and over time these belts will wear out. Check the belts on your furnace each fall when doing regular furnace repair maintenance. If the belts look frayed, worn out, or otherwise damaged, replace them. Replacing the belts on a furnace is typically an easy job for any one with basic mechanical skills, and all the project requires is a wrench and a replacement belt.