Don’t wait for outside temperatures to take a dip to check in on your furnace and ensure that everything’s working properly. Regular furnace maintenance, along with an annual check-up from a qualified furnace pro, will help you avoid breakdowns that can leave you chilly on a frigid day.
Follow this DIY Furnace Maintenance Checklist
First, let’s cover some basic gas furnace maintenance tasks you can do to keep it running in top shape.
1. Change the Filters
You should change furnace filters on this schedule:
- No pets: every 90 days
- With pets: every 60 days
- If someone in your home has allergies: every 30 to 45 days
Not changing your filters regularly allows dirt, debris, and particles to build up and slow airflow—which means less efficiency.
2. Clean the Burners
Your burners should be removed and cleaned every so often. Burners are susceptible to soot and condensation that can prematurely age your furnace. While a pro will do this as part of an annual check-up, you can and should check them yourself as often as you change the filters.
After turning off the furnace and shutting the gas valve, remove the burners and vacuum or wipe them down with a cloth. The flame sensor, which detects whether the pilot light is on, should also be cleaned at the same time. Take it out and remove any dirt with a cloth.
3. Check the Gas Line
Check for signs of leaking—like a hissing sound or a tell-tale smell of propane—starting from the shut-off valve. If you hear a hiss or smell propane, shut off your main valve and call a pro right away.
4. Test the Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector
While your home’s smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector aren’t part of your gas furnace, your furnace inspection is a great time to remember to test and replace the batteries in them. You should also test your carbon monoxide detector. Make sure your detectors are at least 15 feet away from your furnace to avoid false alarms from the small amount of carbon monoxide (CO) given off when your furnace is starting up.
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