Like any other major appliance, your furnace requires regular maintenance to keep it operating efficiently. Here are three maintenance steps that every homeowner should take to maximize the lifespan of their furnace.

Clean the Blower Assembly

Your furnace filter is extremely effective at filtering out large particles in the air, but small amounts of dust and dirt can still get through. In addition to cleaning or changing your furnace filter monthly, it is a good idea to clean the blower assembly inside your furnace at least once a year. Dirt and dust that build up on the inside of the furnace force the motor to work harder and can lead to a breakdown over time.

To clean the blower assembly, turn off power to the furnace, remove the front panel, and then remove the filter. Occasionally, there is a second panel behind and below the filter that will allow you access the furnace interior when removed. Use a soft brush to clean off the blades of the blower fan, and then use a vacuum hose to remove all loose dust from the inside of the furnace.

Replace a Worn Fan Belt

If your furnace is not blowing as much air as it should or isn't blowing at all, the fan belt inside the furnace may be damaged or broken. You can remove the front panel of the furnace and inspect the fan belt for fraying, cracking, or glazing (shininess). If you see any signs of damage to the belt, it will need to be replaced.Take the damaged belt to a local home supply store before you start your repair so you can replace it with an identical belt.

Inspect the Furnace Flue

Your furnace flue is responsible for removing soot and carbon dioxide from your home. If the furnace flue is not maintained, it will deteriorate over time and potentially let harmful gasses into your home. While repairing a furnace flue is a job best left to a professional HVAC technician, homeowners should visually inspect their furnace flue regularly for signs of problems.

Visible cracks and holes in the furnace flue indicate that not all by-products from your furnace are being expelled from your home properly. If you notice small holes in your flue, you can patch them with foil tape until a professional can repair the flue. If you notice corrosion on the furnace flue, this means that the gases from your furnace have started eating away the liner inside the flue, and you should call a technician as soon as possible. 

Furnace maintenance is not difficult if you know the causes of common problems and the steps you can take to prevent them. For more information, contact a company like Mitchell Plumbing & Heating Inc.