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6 Furnace Cleaning & Maintenance Tips for Winter
General Heating & Air Conditioning
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6 Furnace Cleaning & Maintenance Tips for Winter

It’s wintertime in Minnesota, and with the holidays upon us as well, there’s a lot to celebrate, like spending time with your loved ones and taking in the holiday sights.

But winter's colder weather can also mean trouble with your furnace. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of furnace cleaning and maintenance to prevent serious problems from arising.

In this post from General Heating & Air Conditioning in Minnesota, we’re covering some of the most important furnace cleaning and maintenance tips for homeowners this winter. Print out this checklist and then connect with one of our furnace technicians to schedule your furnace maintenance right away!

Furnace Maintenance Basics

Your furnace is probably the hardest-working component in your home during the winter months. With your furnace constantly running this time of year, it’s essential to stay on top of a regular maintenance schedule.

These are just a few reasons it’s important to prioritize furnace maintenance:

  • It saves you money on furnace repairs in the long run.
  • It helps your furnace last longer.
  • It protects your family against gas leaks and carbon monoxide.
  • It reduces your home’s energy usage and lowers your energy bills.
  • It protects your family against an unexpected furnace breakdown on a cold winter night.
  • It’s better for your home’s air quality.

Not sure where to start with furnace maintenance for your Twin Cities area home? Follow these steps to keep your furnace in its best possible condition.

1. Change Your Air FIlter Regularly

If there’s one thing that most homeowners simply don’t do enough of, it’s changing the air filters in their HVAC unit. Air filters are important for a number of reasons. First, they help with your indoor air quality tremendously by collecting all types of pollen, allergens, dust particles, and even microbes.

But if you let them go too long without changing them, they’re not going to do a very good job of cleaning the air in your home. Worse, your furnace has to work extra hard to move air through all of that dust and dirt, which means your system can get overworked, and your bills can go up. On the other hand, regularly changing your filter can reduce your energy costs by as much as 15 percent.

Make a point of scheduling air filter changes on your calendar, or set an alarm if you use a mobile app. Although the times between air filter changes can vary depending on the size of your home and type of filter, if you have pets, you’ll probably need more frequent air filter changes.

2. Clean Your Furnace

Furnace cleaning is something that should be done by a professional heating and cooling technician. However, you can clean the exterior surfaces of your vent with a gentle, damp microfiber cloth.

To clean your furnace, a technician will turn off the furnace completely and allow it to cool down, making sure the pilot light is off. They’ll vacuum any dust from around your furnace before cleaning the blower, blower cavity, and blower assembly. Your technician will next clean the flame sensor by removing it from its bracket and then replacing it after cleaning. Finally, they’ll clean the heat exchanger block to finish the job.

Because your furnace needs to be turned off to be cleaned, it’s best to call your HVAC technician before the bitter winter cold starts to kick in. Fall is the best time of year for scheduling this, but it can be done at any time.

3. Have Your Furnace Tuned Up

When a technician comes out to clean your furnace, he or she will also tune up your furnace and make sure it’s performing at its optimal level. Our technicians will comprehensively examine your system to identify problems with the blower motor, ductwork, blower belt, wiring harnesses, coolant, and more.

And there’s another good reason to have your furnace checked each year—your furnace manufacturer may require it. Many manufacturers’ warranties are only valued when annual maintenance is performed and signed off on by a licensed professional. Failing to do so can void your warranty.

4. Check Your Thermostat Batteries

At the beginning of each heating season, testing or changing out your thermostat batteries is recommended. This ensures that your thermostat is working effectively and can reduce the chance of triggering your furnace to start heating when it doesn't need to.

This can reduce the wear and tear on the unit and keep your home at a consistently comfortable temperature. Additionally, investing in a
programmable thermostat will reduce the energy you're using and help your furnace to run more optimally through the colder season.

5. Check Your Ducting

Your ductwork can be an inviting space for insects and critters to nest, and the ductwork can also deteriorate over time, reducing the efficiency of your entire system. So, scheduling a regular inspection before the start of the season is recommended. This ensures the ducting is clean and in great shape to reduce how hard the HVAC unit has to work to push the air into your home.

6. Clean the Pilot Light and Flame Sensor

Your pilot light is crucial to igniting the furnace, and you want to ensure it is bright blue. If it's any other color, you could have a potential leak. At the same time, it's recommended to inspect the flame sensor. This component produces a small amount of electricity when the furnace ignites, and if it's not working correctly, it will prevent the unit from turning on and heating your home.

Common Furnace Problems

In addition to conducting regular furnace maintenance, it’s important not to put off furnace repairs when they’re needed. If you identify any of these problems, it’s best to call a furnace technician as they could be a sign of something serious:

  • High-pitched squealing
  • Reduced heat
  • Flickering pilot light
  • Inconsistent temperatures in your home
  • System cycling on and off
  • Continual blowing
  • Scraping sound
  • Other loud noises
  • Strange smells

Schedule Your Twin Cities Fall Furnace Maintenance Services

Right now is the best time of year to schedule your annual furnace maintenance. Don’t take a chance on furnace failure this year. Call us today at 952-445-2820 to speak with a member of our team or connect with us online.

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