Forced air gas furnaces collect dust on their internal parts. Fine layers of grime eventually interfere with heating functions. For example, a dirty flame sensor prevents ignition because the dirt insulates the sensor from what it needs to detect. Most aspects of how to clean a gas furnace may be performed by the homeowner. However, if you see problems, like soot or yellow flames, your furnace needs professional service.
Tools You Will Need
- Ratchet and socket set
- A Shop vacuum
- A Brush with stiff bristles
- Emery cloth
- Drinking straw
How to Clean a Gas Furnace Step by Step
- Turn the gas supply valve 1/4 turn to stop the flow of natural gas.
- Deactivate the electricity at the furnace’s power switch.
- Dampen a rag and wipe down the exterior of the furnace unit.
- Lift the furnace access door up and away from the unit.
- If the burner has a cover panel, loosen the screws securing it. Set the panel aside.
- With the shop vacuum, extract all visible dirt and dust from inside the furnace. Reach into the far corners as much as possible.
- Lift the blower door and vacuum out that area.
- As you vacuum, check for soot. Poor combustion leaves soot behind and means that you should call Oliver for a professional furnace inspection.
- A control panel may be blocking your access to the blower. If that is the case, unscrew the panel so that you can shift it aside.
- Use a socket and ratchet to take off the blower bolts.
- Move the blower carefully without disconnecting wires or shifting counterweights on fan blades.
- Vacuum the blower and scrub off the grime with a bristle brush. Be thorough. This is a balanced piece of equipment that needs to be cleaned in its entirety.
- Put the blower back into place and reattach the bolts.
- Find the pilot light or hot surface igniter and blow off dirt through a small drinking straw. Do not touch the pilot light or igniter.
- Gently draw the flame sensor off of its bracket.
- Lightly scrub the grime off with an emery cloth.
- Return the flame sensor to its bracket.
- Look over the blower belt. If you detect frays or cracks, it needs to be replaced.
- Many blower motors have shaft bearings. Find the oil caps and take them off.
- Drop two or three drops of lubricating oil into the caps.
- Remove the old furnace filter and slide in a new one. Make sure that you select a filter in accordance with the furnace manufacturer’s directions.
- Restore power and gas to the furnace.
- Turn up the thermostat to activate the heat.
- Confirm that burner flames are blue. A yellow color indicates dirty burners, which need professional attention.
Benefits of Seasonal Furnace Maintenance
Your furnace will last much longer and perform better if kept clean and in peak condition. If you find yourself putting off cleaning your furnace, Oliver’s maintenance plan will ensure timely cleaning. Our technician completes all cleaning, lubrication, and adjustments before the heating season starts. Call us at 1-888-810-2681 or contact us today to protect your furnace from breaking down.