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3 Easy DIY Furnace Maintenance Tips

Regular furnace maintenance is essential to keep it operating at full capacity. While many homeowners leave furnace maintenance to professionals, there are a few simple maintenance steps that anyone can perform. Here are three easy ways to keep your furnace in good shape for years to come.

Check the Furnace Flue

The furnace flue is the exhaust pipe that delivers soot, carbon dioxide, and other harmful combustion byproducts out of your home. Like the rest of your furnace, the flue can degrade over time and potentially allow harmful fumes to escape into your home. Repairing the flue is a job that is best left to an HVAC technician, but homeowners should inspect the flue regularly to spot signs of wear before a problem occurs.

Visible cracks and holes in the flue are the most obvious signs that the flue is not functioning properly. If you see these, you should refrain from using your furnace until you have the flue repaired to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Corrosion in the furnace flue is another indicator that repair is necessary, as this means that the exhaust fumes have been eating away at the lining inside the flue.

Replace Worn Belts

Reduced air output from your furnace could be a sign of a worn or broken fan belt inside your furnace. The fan belt is usually visible when you remove the front panel of your furnace. Inspect the belt for cracking, fraying, or excess glossiness, all of which are signs that you should replace the belt as soon as possible. After removing the belt, take it to a local home supply store so you can easily find an identical belt.

Clean the Blower Assembly

While your furnace filter is very good at removing large airborne contaminants, some small particles will always be able to get through. This means that even if you are cleaning or changing your furnace filter once a month, the blower assembly inside your furnace will become coated with dust and dirt over time. This reduces furnace efficiency by forcing the blower motor to work harder to overcome extra friction caused by the dust that's coating moving components in the blower motor.

The first step to clean the blower assembly is to shut off power to your furnace at the breaker and remove the front panel and filter. Some furnace models have a second panel below the filter that must be removed to access the blower assembly. Begin cleaning by using a soft bristle brush to dust off the blower fan blades. Follow up with a vacuum hose to remove any dust that is clinging to the blower assembly casing.

If you know how to perform simple furnace maintenance tasks, you can solve common furnace problems before they cause significant damage and require more expensive repairs.