It’s easy to get intimidated when it comes to caring for your home’s heating system, given how complicated it seems and how important it is to the comfort and reliability of your home as a whole through the freezing winter nights around the corner. That said, neglecting your home’s heating is not only an expensive mistake to make but also one of the most dangerous ones homeowners make every autumn.

Keeping that in mind, you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep your home’s furnace functioning properly this winter if you use this simple, step-by-step guide to DIY furnace cleaning!

Filter Cleaning and Replacement

One of the most common problems which modern furnaces run into is a clogged, damaged, or otherwise poorly maintained air filter. This is actually very lucky for most homeowners since cleaning, maintaining, and even replacing air filters is very easy! Follow these steps to improve your home’s indoor air quality, reduce the risk of fire, and increase the usability of your home’s furnace

  • Make sure your furnace is manually turned off.
  • Open your furnace’s access panel.
  • Carefully pop air filter directly behind panel out and inspect it for damage.
  • If the filter has any holes or tears, identify the specific model of filter and purchase a replacement.
  • If the filter is free of any loose points, weak points, or holes, carefully clean the filter with a damp cloth and then a common household cleaner.
  • Secure your clean or newly purchased air filter and re-secure the access panel.

Motor and Fan Cleaning

The motor within your furnace acts as the heart of the system and should therefore be cared for regularly and carefully in order to keep the system as a whole functioning at its highest quality. Cleaning your home’s furnace motor is fairly straightforward, however, it’s highly advisable to contact professional heating repair contractors if your cleaning turns up any issues or if you’re uncertain about how to proceed.

  • Turn off your furnace’s fuel supply completely. Even if you aren’t currently using your furnace safety during cleaning is an absolute must.
  • Open your furnace’s motor access panel.
  • Slide the motor/blower assembly out from the furnace along the track it’s on.
  • Once removed, begin broadly cleaning the assembly exterior and openings with vacuum hose attachments and clean clothes to wipe away large dust and dirt deposits.
  • Carefully clean the rest of the motor and blower fan unit with common cleaning agents, water, and small brushes.
  • Once clean and dry, place and secure the motor assembly back on its track and return it to your furnace. Reconnect all connections and close the access panel.

Ductwork Cleaning and Inspections

The ducts and vents which spread heated air around your home after it has been heated within the furnace can grow to be just as dirty as the inside of the furnace, itself. That said, thoroughly cleaning the lengths of your heating ducts is inadvisable without the help of a professional. Fortunately, there is a lot which can be done on the exterior of the pipes and at the vents where those ducts ultimately terminate.

  • Inspect the casing of all your accessible ducts, beginning at the furnace. Any tears, cracks, or strange smells and noises are signs of trouble which could decrease efficiency and lead to dangerous problems down the line.
  • Dust and clean all visible ductwork to remove any dirt or grime which could otherwise heat up and pose a fire hazard.
  • Then use an extending vacuum attachment to clean the terminal vents and radiators throughout your home.
  • If this cleaning throughout your home turns up an excessive amount of dirt and grime then it’s safe to assume that a buildup of dust is an issue throughout the entire system. If this is the case, contact a professional to have them cleaned completely before you heavily rely on them.
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