5 Things To Never Do While Cleaning Your Furnace

It’s that time of year—time to get out your winter gear and turn up the heat. As we begin to snuggle up under the covers, don’t forget to add cleaning your furnace to your winter checklist.

If you usually opt out of scheduling a furnace maintenance appointment and are determined to do it yourself, you’ll want to keep safety in mind. To ensure that you’re covering every safety measure possible, here are some things you should never do while cleaning your furnace:

1. Never Leave It On

One of the first things you’ll want to do when you’re maintaining or cleaning your furnace is to shut it off. You’ll want to shut off both the electrical power and the fuel supply source.

To shut off the electrical power, look for a switch with a red outlet cover. In most homes, it’s placed near the stairs or by your burner. To find the shutoff valve for the fuel supply, look near the incoming gas pipe or the fuel tank. These locations are important to know in case of a leak or fire.

2. Be Careful Not to Misuse Products

When it comes time to clean your furnace, you’ll want to do your research on proper cleaning products. You don’t want to risk you and your family’s safety or wind up damaging your system.

Look for products that aren’t flammable and that are approved by your manufacturer. Don’t forget to remove them once done, as leaving products or rags near your furnace can be a severe fire hazard, so be sure that you always keep the area clear.

3. Don’t Forget to Clean the Furnace Filter

Your indoor air quality is mainly dependent on the state of your furnace filter, so a filter that is over a year old should be replaced. A clean filter will ensure that fresh air is getting pushed into your home and will keep your machine working at its best. So, while you are cleaning your furnace, remember to check your filter and replace it if needed.

4. Don’t Overlook Ventilation

It’s essential to inspect your ductwork and vents during the cleaning of your furnace to ensure adequate airflow. Check for any obstructions that could cause a blocked vent or inconsistent heating.

Proper ventilation is essential not only for your indoor air quality but also for your safety, especially if you have an oil or gas furnace. The incomplete combustion of fuel can produce carbon monoxide gas. Adequate ventilation helps ensure the effective removal of combustion byproducts, including CO, preventing the buildup of potentially dangerous gases in your home.

5. Avoid DIY Furnace Repair

Some components of your furnace can be cleaned and inspected with no problem, while others can be considered more dangerous. Once the inside components of your furnace are exposed, it can be tempting to poke around. If you notice something needs repairing during your cleaning process, it’s best to leave that part to the professionals.

One of the biggest risks of a DIY furnace repair is the potential for gas leaks and CO poisoning, as mentioned above. Another component that requires careful attention is the electrical components of your furnace. Loose or melted wiring or problems with your motor blower can lead to electrical hazards or even fire.

For all the independent homeowners out there, it’s still crucial to receive professional inspections of your furnace or HVAC system at least once a year. Professionals have the skill and knowledge to pinpoint a problem before it starts to show itself, which is why preventative maintenance checks play a huge part in saving you money on costly repairs or replacements.

maintaining or cleaning your furnace

Why Is Cleaning Your Furnace Important?

A clean furnace is essential for both safety and efficiency considerations. Here are some reasons why cleaning your furnace annually is crucial:

  • Prevention of Overheating: A dirty furnace may struggle to dissipate heat effectively, eventually leading to the overheating of internal components. Overheating can result in reduced efficiency and damage to the furnace.
  • Prolonged Equipment Lifespan: The accumulation of dirt and debris in your furnace can contribute to wear and tear on furnace components. Regular cleaning helps prevent the buildup of particles that can cause friction, corrosion, and other forms of damage, ultimately prolonging the lifespan.
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality: A clean furnace contributes to improved indoor air quality by reducing the circulation of dust, allergens, and pollutants. Airborne particles from a dirty furnace can exacerbate respiratory issues and allergies.

If you’re unsure of what to look for or think your furnace might not be working as it should, it’s best to schedule maintenance with a professional. Our experts can help keep your Salt Lake City home’s heating and air systems operating at their best. Schedule your tune-up with Scott Hale Plumbing, Heating & Air today!