Depending on where you live in the U.S., it can become very cold during the holiday season. If you expect to host parties and other activities this year, it's essential that you service your gas furnace. Although gas is the main fuel for your furnace, the appliance still relies on electricity to power up its blower motor and fan. If a storm disrupts power to your home, your furnace might stop working. You can keep your furnace on track with the three tips below.
Check Your Home's Electrical System
Your home's electrical system should be sound enough to support large appliances like your furnace on a daily basis. If the system experiences power fluctuations or outages, it can shut down your furnace prematurely. Your furnace might experience some issues with its electrical parts if it shuts down unexpectedly. You can prevent problems by having your home's electricity checked now.
Check your home's circuit breaker for loose or broken wires. If you find problems, have an electrician repair or replace them right away. Loose wiring can interfere with your furnace's power supply.
Also, check the disconnect switch to your furnace. The switch looks like a regular light switch, so it may be easy to miss. In most homes, the switch sits near the basement's stairwell, or it sits on the wall outside of the basement. Once you locate the switch, make sure that it's placed in the "on" position instead of the "off" position. If possible, place a thick piece of masking tape over the switch's toggle to keep someone from turning it off.
Next, take time to clean out your furnace's blower compartment.
Clean and Secure Your Blower Compartment
The blower compartment sits at the bottom of the furnace and near the air filter compartment. The blower compartment contains the furnace's motor and fan. Over time, the compartment can fill up with dust, spider webs, and other unsavory debris. The debris can cover the surfaces of the motor and fan, which prevents them from operating properly.
You can clean out the blower compartment yourself. All you need is a small bucket of water, several cleaning rags, and a handheld vacuum. If possible, secure a small canister of household oil or lubricant. You'll need to oil the motor later on.
Now, follow the steps below:
- Cut power to your furnace at the circuit breaker and at the gas supply valve.
- Remove the panel or cover from the blower compartment, then set it against a wall. The panel can warp or dent easily, so you want to avoid damaging it.
- Remove the air filter from its housing. You can replace the filter with a new one after you clean out the blower compartment.
- Use your vacuum to suck out the compartment. If you can do so without damaging it, vacuum the blower fan's blades. These parts can clog up with dust.
- Dip one of your rags into your bucket of water. Squeeze out the excess water, then gently wipe down the compartment and the surfaces of the motor and fan. Use another rag to dry off the parts.
- Place several drops of oil into the motor's oil ports.
- Place a new air filter into its compartment, then close up the blower compartment.
You can now return gas and electrical power to your furnace. Wait several minutes or so for the appliance to fire up. If you notice any problems with the furnace, such as taking too long to ignite, contact an HVAC contractor for further assistance.
Don't wait until the holidays or cold season to arrive. You can protect your furnace and guests this season by contacting a heating repair technician near you.