How do You Tune up a Furnace System?
2015-04-17 10:13:42
HVAC systems are mechanical, so like all mechanical systems they do need to be maintained. A thorough professional tune up will cost you $100 or more and is definitely something you should do every few years. However, you can do an annual tune up and maintenance process yourself, and save some of that money.

Inspect - First take a look at your furnace. There shouldn't be any black soot or combustion residue on or around the furnace. Next, turn up the thermostat so your furnace comes on. Check the flames in the burner. They should be blue and steady, not yellow or orange and flickering. Soot build-up or yellow flames are an indication of poor combustion, and if you see any signs of either, call a professional technician to fix the problem.

Clean - Next, turn the thermostat back down and let your furnace cool. For extra safety, turn off the circuit breaker that powers your furnace. When the furnace is cool, remove the sides of your furnace and using a vacuum with a long nozzle, get rid of any dust that may have accumulated. Use a damp rag to clean the blades of the blower fan and any other areas the vacuum couldn't reach. While you've got the sides off, check to see if your blower fan has oil cups at the ends of the central shaft (some are sealed units and don't need oiling). If there are cups there, give them a few drops of oil.

Repair - An electric motor and a fan belt drive many blower fans, while some are direct drive and don't use a fan belt. If your blower does have a fan belt, check its condition and tension. The underside should be free of cracks, but over time, age and heat will dry out the rubber belt and cause cracks. If there are cracks in the belt, replace it with one of the same size. Checking the tension of the belt is as simple as pushing down on it. There should be about 1/2 inch of play in a properly adjusted belt. If you have more or less movement than that, adjust the tension by loosening the electric motor mounts and moving the motor to create the proper tension.

Reassemble - Reattach the furnace panels, and turn the circuit breaker back on.

Replace - Finally, changing your furnace filter once a month during heating season is a good maintenance practice. So when you're doing your furnace tune up, get ready for the season by installing a fresh filter.

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