Furnace Maintenance Tasks You Can Do Yourself
These furnace maintenance tasks are fairly simple ones that most homeowners can do themselves. If you’re unsure about anything, call a CW Service Pros heat professional for help.
- Clean and change the filters. Filters must be cleaned and changed regularly, according to the filter type. Most home systems have mechanical filters, but other filter types are available.
- Mechanical filters should be cleaned once a month and changed every two to three months, depending on how heavy your heating usage is.
- Electrostatic filters don’t need to be changed or replaced, but they do need regular cleaning every two to three months, just like other types of filters.
- Electronic filters need weekly cleaning but don’t need to be replaced.
- Inspect the burner flames. Flames should be blue and appear to burn evenly. Yellow flames may indicate the burners are dirty. Note: If the burners need adjustment, call a pro like the ones at CW Service Pros.
- Clean the burners. Turn off electricity and gas to the furnace, then use a vacuum to clean debris out of the burner compartment. If you don’t have a small vacuum attachment that can get into the smaller spaces, tape half an inch of drain line or other plastic tubing to the end of the vacuum hose to extend it.
- Clean the pilot/igniter. Use a drinking straw or similar tool to blow dust off the pilot, if the system has one. Newer systems have a hot surface ignitor, which can be cleaned the same way. Don’t touch the ignitor; it’s a very delicate part that breaks easily.
- Clean the blower wheel. If you have the right tools, you can remove the blower wheel. Use a small brush to clean out the blower blades, but be careful not to disturb the wiring or counterweights. This can be a delicate job, so if you’re in any doubt, let an experienced HVAC pro do it during your bi-annual servicing.
- Clean the flame sensor. Remove the flame sensor from its bracket and clean it by lightly running it over a fine emery cloth.
- Inspect the drive belt. Check for cracked, frayed, or worn areas. If it’s worn, don’t attempt to replace the belt yourself unless you’re an expert. This is a difficult job, and if not done correctly, can cause equipment problems.
- Adjust dampers. Some systems have dampers that need to be adjusted with the seasons. Most of these systems are marked to show the adjustments that need to be made.
Furnace Maintenance a Professional Should Do
Professional servicing of your heating system should be an annual job. It can be done at any time of year, but it’s generally best to have this done in summer or early fall, before the weather turns cold. That way, you can be sure your heating system is in good working order before winter sets in.
- Calibrate the thermostat.
- Check electrical connections and system controls.
- Check for duct leaks and seal any leaks found.
- Check belts and motors for signs of wear.
- Analyze combustion gases to ensure the furnace is burning fuel efficiently and safely.
- Check air intakes for obstructions.
- Check heat exchanger for signs of corrosion or rust.
- Test safety switches.
- Check flame sensor, ignition, and burners.
- Check combustion blower for noises and blockages.
- Test wiring connections, and check for signs of corrosion.
Signs Your Heating System Needs Repair
If your heating system needs repair, you’ll probably notice one or more of these signs before the system actually breaks down. If you do, call one of your local CW Service Pros HVAC service pros as soon as possible. Prompt action may help prevent a serious—and potentially costly—problem.
- The system isn’t warming up your home as well as it used to. You may notice that:
- It cycles on continuously, but the house is still cold.
- The air coming from the vents is lukewarm.
- There are new cold spots in the home where heat used to reach but doesn’t anymore.
- The system constantly cycles on and off in short bursts. The system makes unusual noises. These might be:
- Noises that are louder than they used to be.
- Noises you haven’t heard it make before.
- New or louder noises when cycling on or off.
- You smell a strange odor coming from the vents – This may be a scorched kind of smell or any other foul or unpleasant odor you haven’t noticed before.
- Your home is dustier, or you notice dust accumulating on the heating grate, even though you change and clean the system filter regularly.
- Your energy bills keep getting higher, without any apparent cause.
- The carbon monoxide detector starts beeping. If your CO detector goes off, evacuate your home immediately and call emergency services and CW Service Pros for help.
What Are the Most Common Heating System Problems?
Some common heating problems, such as issues caused by a dirty filter or incorrect thermostat setting, are simple to troubleshoot and solve. But for any problems that can’t be fixed by simple troubleshooting methods, it’s important to call a trained HVAC technician. Furnaces can be dangerous to work with, due to gas-related and combustion-related safety hazards. If you’re in doubt, always call an expert.
- Dirty Filter
If your heating system seems to be running less efficiently than usual, check the air filter. Dirty or clogged filters are one of the most common heating system issues, especially if you have pets. Even a pet-free home needs to change the filter regularly, as airborne particulates accumulate over time and reduce the system’s efficiency.
Solution: Clean or change the filter. Ask your CW Service Pros service professional to add you to the automatic filter replacement plan, so you never wonder again when they were last changed. Your new filters will arrive when it is time to change them. This service is not only great for the typical homeowner, but also for people who own multiple properties that may have different sizes and types of filters that need to be replaced.
- Pilot Light Off
If you have an older furnace with a pilot light, a heating system failure may be caused if the pilot light goes out. The light may be snuffed out by a strong draft or could fail if the pilot burner is dirty, or if dirt or water gets in the gas line. Pilot light issues can also be caused by a faulty thermocouple.
- Electrical Ignition Failure
Newer furnace models have an electrical ignition, rather than a pilot light. If your electrical ignition has a problem, the heating system may fail to turn on, may cycle constantly, or may fail to cycle off when the set temperature is reached.
Solution: Call your HVAC technician for this one.
- Fan Not Working
If the fan won’t come on, check the system thermostat, and make sure the settings are correct. Generally, the “auto” setting is best, as this cycles the system on and off to automatically maintain the set temperature. If the thermostat isn’t the problem, it may be either the filter or the circuit breakers.
Solution: Check your thermostat settings and change the batteries if you have a digital thermostat. Check your filter and clean or change it if necessary. Finally, check your circuit breakers and see if a tripped circuit may have caused the failure. If the problem persists, call an HVAC technician.
- System Not Cycling Off
Your heating system will cycle on more frequently and for longer periods the colder the weather is outside. But even then, it should cycle off every so often. If it’s not doing this, something in the system may be making it run less efficiently than it was designed to. The cause could be something simple, such as a dirty filter or thermostat issue. But this behavior may also be a sign of an electrical problem, an issue with the blower, or something bigger.
In a heat pump or mini-split system, this issue could also be a fault with the compressor’s contactor, a component that regulates how much power the system receives.
Solution: First, check the filter and change it if necessary. Check your thermostat settings and make sure they’re set to “auto.” If you have a digital thermostat, changing the batteries may solve the problem. If the problem persists, there could be a more serious thermostat or electrical issue, or the blower may be at fault. Call your HVAC technician for help with these problems.
For heat pumps, check and change the filter. If the problem persists, call a professional to not only troubleshoot thermostat issues but also other issues that may be happening.
- System Short-Cycling
Constant cycling on and off is often caused by a dirty filter or thermostat issue. However, there are other potential causes, such as a clogged vent and electrical issues.
Solution: Check and change the air filter if it’s dirty. Check your thermostat settings, and change the batteries if you have a digital thermostat. Check all system vents to make sure they are clean and free of obstructions. If these fixes don’t resolve the issue, call your CW Service Pros HVAC tech. Other possible causes include issues with the flame sensor or draft inducer motor.
- Leaking Ductwork
Leaks in the ductwork of a furnace system can be difficult to detect. A leak may lead to reduced system efficiency, higher energy bills, and a colder home. Check for ductwork leaks by walking alongside ducts to feel for blowing air.
Solution: Leaks can be sealed using heat-resistant tape or mastic sealant. If you find several leaks, or if you repair a leak and still have heating issues, call a professional for more help. Remember, ductwork runs through attics, crawl spaces, and though walls. Don’t hesitate to call a professional to help locate the leaks and insulate the ducts throughout your system. The price you pay to repair this will save you throughout the life of your home’s heating and air units.
- Mold in the Ductwork
Although the North Texas climate is on the dry side, mold can be an issue in heating systems if moisture builds up inside ductwork. If this happens, you may notice a musty or moldy smell that’s strongest when the fan cycles on.
Solution: Professional cleaning of the unit and possibly the ductwork is generally the best option, as mold removal can be a big job and often becomes bigger if left untreated. It may also be necessary to have the ductwork insulated and sealed to keep moisture out in the future.
- System Producing a Burning or Scorched Smell
When you first turn your heating system on each year, it may emit an odor of burning as it burns off any dust that accumulated inside the unit over the summer. This should only be temporary. If it persists for longer than the first day or two, or if you smell a burning odor at any other time, there may be an underlying issue.
Solution: Clean or change the air filter. If this isn’t the source of the problem, wiring could be the problem, or an overheating furnace motor. In this case, call a professional heating technician for help.
Why Call a CW Service Pros HVAC Service Professional for Heating Maintenance and Repair?
Whether you need to schedule an annual heating system maintenance check or need a furnace repair, you can call us! You can expect:
- Skilled technicians. All our heating technicians have up-to-date training and are experts in customer care. We background-check and screen our experts so you can feel confident welcoming them into your home.
- Same-day appointments. Whenever possible, we offer same-day service for heating system repair, maintenance, and inspections.
- 24/7 emergency call-outs. If your heating system has a problem that can’t wait, call us any time to schedule an appointment.
- Up-front pricing. We’ll review your case and give you an all-inclusive written estimate for the job before starting any work. There are never any hidden costs to worry about.
- All parts are from trusted brands. We use only the best parts, from trusted brands.
- City permits. If your job needs an inspection or permit, we’ll arrange it for you. From requesting the permit to paying the fees to scheduling with the city, we act as your personal concierge for this service
- Your satisfaction is guaranteed. The job isn’t finished until you’re happy with the results.
- Thousands of happy customers. We have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and lots of positive feedback from sites such as Angi, Expertise.com, HomeAdvisor, and Thumbtack. Thousands of smiling customers can’t be wrong. You can be the next satisfied client.
Does CW Service Pros Offer Financing?
Yes! We partner with Synchrony to offer financing for purchases, installations, and repairs. Terms range from 6 to 18 months, with interest as low as 0% with approved credit or low-interest rates on revolving credit options. No matter the size of the job, there is a financing option you will be happy with. Learn more on our financing page.
We also offer some of the best new equipment warranties available in the industry today, plus competitive warranties on labor, parts, and materials.
CW Service Pros Means Expert HVAC Heating Servicing and Repairs
Looking for an HVAC company for heating system repair, furnace repair, or heating maintenance? Whether your heating system needs its annual checkup or it’s having a problem, or you need furnace installation, call CW Service Pros for help from experienced experts.