Keeping your gas furnace in peak working condition is a must, both for your comfort and for your wallet. Failing to perform regular maintenance can result in expensive repairs at inconvenient times. The best time to do maintenance is during the off season between spring and fall. Doing it sooner is best, because this gives you time to complete any necessary repairs before the winter heating season returns. The following checklist can help you spot potential issues.
#1: Do a burner test.
Begin by turning the thermostat up high enough so that the unit fires on. Once the furnace is running, take a close look at burner. The flame should be burning evenly and producing a clean, blue flame. There should be no smoke or signs of soot. There is an issue if the flame is flickering or if it is yellow or orange in color (the flame should be blue). Soot and smoke are also a major problem indicators. These issues mean that either the gas isn't being delivered properly or the burner is not burning at the correct temperature. These issues require a visit from an HVAC technician for a repair.
#2: Perform a fan inspection.
The next part of the furnace that is most likely to suffer problems is the fan and blower assembly. Begin by shutting off the furnace and turning off the circuit breaker. Once this is done, examine the fan belt for damage, such as fraying edges or visible cracks. Just like any motor belt, whether in your car or your vacuum, a furnace fan belt should be supple and smooth. It needs to be replaced if you notice damage.
Once the fan belt is inspected, check out the fan blades. These should rotate smoothly and there shouldn't be any signs of damage. If the blades wobble or otherwise look damaged, such as if they have an obvious bend, you may need to either tighten the holding screw or call in for a repair.
#3: Clean it out.
Dirt and dust will collect in and around your gas furnace, which can be a major issue. The dirt can get into the burner, clogging the gas nozzle so the pilot light won't fire correctly. It can also gum up the fan so the blower doesn't work properly. Use the hose attachment on your vacuum to remove any dust or debris from inside and around the furnace. You can then use a damp cloth to get to hard-to-reach places, such as the fan blades or base of the motor housing. Just make sure everything is dry before turning the furnace back on.
If you find that you need repairs to your furnace, contact a company like Greers Service Company Inc.