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Top central heating and furnace maintenance tips for winter

Posted on: December 28, 2010

As temperatures drop below freezing, make sure you have taken the appropriate steps needed to maintain your furnace and central heating system! Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure your furnace will keep you and your loved ones warm this winter season.

Disconnect Power Source Before Performing Furnace Maintenance!

The first step of home furnace maintenance is to disconnect the furnace from its power source. For a gas furnace, be sure to turn the fuel off before you perform maintenance. If you have an electric furnace, there should be a breaker you can use to turn off the electric supply to your unit. These connections may be on or close to your furnace, or they may be located elsewhere around your home. Note that your furnace may have both a gas line and an electrical line, so be sure to disconnect both before performing any maintenance.

Remove The Cover and Clean Inside Your Furnace

Once you have disabled the power and fuel sources to your furnace, remove the cover and begin by cleaning out all of the dust, dirt, and spider webs inside your furnace.

Examine Your Furnace for Defective Wires or Pipes

Perform an examination of your furnace to ensure there are no cracks in the piping, wiring, or insulation where gas or energy could leak through. If you see any defects, you should contact your local heating experts immediately.

Check the Motor in Your Furnace

Inspect the belts and motors in your furnace to make sure they turn freely. Look for oil caps (typically red) where you can add a few drops of oil to keep your furnace functioning smoothly all winter long. If you do not see any oil caps, your furnace may have what is called a “sealed bearing or motor” that does not require oil to function. If you are unsure, contact your local heating professionals.

Check Your Furnace’s Fan Belt

Your furnace should have a fan belt that runs from the motor to the blower. Check it for any glazing, cracking or fraying that indicates it is time for a replacement. If your fan belt looks free from any wear or damage, check it for proper tension. Press down on your furnace fan belt half-way between the two pulleys and make sure it does not move more than ½ to ¾ of an inch. If you need to adjust the tension of your existing or new fan belt, you can do so by loosening the attachment bracket and moving the motor until you have the proper tension. Tighten the bracket to keep the motor and belt in place.


Check Your Furnace’s Filter

Your furnace filter should be replaced every 30 days while your unit is in use. Having a clean filter is one of the most important parts of proper Furnace Maintenance.


Turn on Your Furnace, Ensure Proper Function

Once you have checked or replaced your furnace filter, put the cover back on the unit and reconnect the power supply (both gas and electric, if applicable). Let your furnace run and pay attention to any irregular sounds or functions. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact your local heating technician.


For professional furnace maintenance support in Maryland or Washington, DC, contact the experts at James A. Wheat & Sons.