DIY Furnace Maintenance in 5 Easy Steps

Male arm and hand replacing disposable air filter in residential air furnace.

Depending on which area you live in, winter can be extremely tough. Now imagine if your furnace started misbehaving on top of that. In case of furnaces, maintenance truly does go a long way in preventing a disaster striking right in the middle of the heating season.

If you don’t have a maintenance plan you may need some costly furnace repair! But if you take a few simple maintenance steps once every couple of months, you might prevent serious or even irreparable damage.

Cleaning your furnace on your own only takes a couple of hours, but will ensure months of careless, reliable heating. Here are some steps you can take on your own to keep your furnace in good shape.

Visual Inspection

Before you move on to actual cleaning, conduct a visual inspection of your furnace. Make sure to turn off the power in the furnace and take off the combustion chamber door. There are usually a couple of screws holding the door in place.

When you have removed the door flip the switch back on and activate the furnace by turning the thermostat up. The flames in your furnace should be blue and even. If the flames are yellow, the burners are likely in need of cleaning.

Vacuum the Furnace

Making sure the power to the furnace and the gas are turned off, vacuum both the base of the furnace and the burners. To get to the parts that are harder to reach tape a drain line to the hose and remove the dirt from the back of the burners as well. Make sure there’s no dust or soot anywhere. You can use a flashlight to make sure you don’t miss any residue.

Clean the Blower

Remove the blower by unscrewing the bolts that keep it in place. Gently lift the blower and use a vacuum to clean the blades. Use a fine brush to clean any dirt that won’t come off that easily. Be careful with the wiring and the counterweights connected to the blades. If you’re not sure how to clean it, best leave it to the professionals.

Replace the Furnace Filter

Ideally, you should replace the filter in your furnace at least once every three months, even more frequently during the heating season. If you want to change the filter, make sure to consult the specifications. Some high-efficiency filters are known to minimize the airflow, which can take a heavy toll on the burner.

Seal Any Air Leaks

While you’re cleaning the furnace, don’t forget to seal any air leaks. This is especially important for the return air ducts. Use high-temperature silicone or a metal tape. To make sure there are no leaks you should perform a test by turning on the burners and holding incense close to the draft hood. If the smoke is drawn to the hood, you are good. Also, make sure to check the exhaust vents for any residue.

If you’re looking for a professional furnace service contact Action Air Conditioning & Heating of San Diego at 4455 Murphy Canyon Rd Suite 100–5, San Diego, CA 92123, USA; 800-400-4152 or visit


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