How to Service a Furnace for Winter

How to Service a Furnace for Winter
crawfordmech December 19, 2022

You rely on your furnace to keep you warm and comfortable. There are several basic measures you can take to keep your furnace running smoothly and save money in the long run. The following tips will help you learn how to maintain your furnace so that it’s ready to heat your home come winter.

10 Furnace Maintenance Tips 

While some furnace servicing processes are best left to the experts, homeowners can incorporate a few techniques into their winter preparation routines. This way, you can address any issues and get professional service if necessary to ensure your furnace can handle the cold. Explore our 10 furnace winter maintenance tips:

1. Routinely Clean Vents 

Clean furnace vents annually, especially if you own a gas furnace, as they emit carbon monoxide. Remove the vent covers from the air vents and thoroughly clean them. Feel free to use a vacuum attachment in the vent to get the hard-to-reach places. Consider hiring a professional if you haven’t cleaned the vents regularly or can’t confidently access the vents yourself.

2. Inspect Air Filters

Regularly check the air filters to ensure they’re functioning correctly. A dirty air filter can obstruct the airflow through the furnace. Further, air filters play a crucial role in eliminating dirt, dust, allergens and mold from your home. A high-quality and well-maintained air filter will significantly enhance indoor air quality and keep your home comfortable. Older filters may require a replacement, so contact an expert if you’re unsure whether yours work correctly.

3. Test and Monitor the Control Valve

The control valve is a safety feature installed on most furnaces. Now is an excellent time to test and monitor your control valve. If your furnace doesn’t produce heat, investigate the control valve first, which is usually located on the supply line. Check that your control valve is “on” so that gas can enter the furnace — if there’s nothing to burn, your furnace won’t create heat.


4. Monitor Your Thermostat

Always check that your thermostat functions correctly and matches your home’s temperature. If your thermostat goes haywire, your furnace won’t work as it should. Some things can negatively affect your thermostat’s operation, such as dirt buildup and inaccurate calibrations.

If issues persist, try installing a programmable thermostat or contact a professional service to look for possible problems. 

5. Check the Tension Belt

Inspect your furnace’s tension belt every once in a while. These belts occasionally need adjusting. A misaligned belt can cause a loud-running furnace. In addition, check the tension belt for any cracks, frayed areas and general signs of wear — if you find damage, it’s better to replace the furnace’s tension belt completely. 

6. Oil the Motors

Each year, oil the furnace motor. Stay moderate with the lubrication — a couple of drops of oil will suffice. Note that some older models have two motor and blower shaft bearings that require lubrication. Add two to three drops of nondetergent, lightweight motor oil — not all-purpose oil — into the ports, and you’ll have a well-lubricated furnace motor for the following year.

7. Shut Everything Down in the Spring

When the weather gets warmer, you need to shut down your furnace. A running furnace will continue to consume energy even though you no longer need the heat. When you shut off your furnace, whether it’s electric- or gas-powered, take the opportunity to clean it, so it can function adequately as the following winter approaches.

8. Clean Around Outside Units

It’s critical to provide adequate airflow around an outside furnace. Be sure to trim and cut shrubs, tall grass or other vegetation near your outdoor units, as they’ll obstruct airflow in and out of the furnace, reducing its efficiency. The minimum clearance necessary is typically available in your furnace’s manufacturer’s instruction manual. As a general rule, ensure at least 2 feet of space from the exterior of your outside units to buildings, vegetation or other obstructions.

9. Insulate Your House

Properly insulating your home can help you keep warm air inside, save you money on energy costs and even increase your property value. Upgrade the insulation in walls, doors, windows, attics and floors when necessary. Aside from traditional insulation materials like fiberglass, you can use other methods to insulate your home, such as adding rugs, closing curtains and blocking the gaps under doors. As a result of your efforts, your furnace won’t have to work as hard to heat your home, helping it last longer and work properly.

10. Regularly Clean Your Whole Furnace

A clean furnace will produce heat more effectively than a dirty one. In addition, keeping your furnace maintained properly will help cut costs on energy and heating bills. Start by cleaning the filter system, blower and motor, working your way through to thoroughly clean everything. In some cases, hiring an expert to maintain and inspect your furnace can be the better option, especially if you’ve forgotten to take care of your furnace for some time.

Schedule Furnace Maintenance to Keep Your Furnace Running Smoothly

While you can use certain techniques to keep your furnace running smoothly during the cold months, you can’t beat the value of having a professional inspect and maintain your furnace for you. The average homeowner likely doesn’t have the same knowledge and insight as an expert mechanical servicer, meaning they might miss crucial steps and components that impact their appliances.

By scheduling service with a professional team, you’ll have no doubts your furnace runs properly and can keep your family warm throughout the winter.

How Often Should You Get Maintenance? 

How often your furnace requires maintenance depends on its age, condition, size, brand and frequency of use. Still, your furnace requires monthly, seasonal and yearly maintenance. Checking for deterioration should happen monthly to ensure your furnace performs at its best. Seasonally, you should take the above steps to prepare your furnace for winter and close it off when spring comes. Having a professional service provider perform a visual inspection of your home’s entire furnace system is recommended annually.

What Does a Regular Tuneup Include?

Typical furnace tuneups involve inspecting and adjusting the system’s critical components, and cleaning, testing and lubricating them as needed. Here’s a list of standard furnace tuneup tasks: 

  • Inspecting the furnace heat exchanger, heat pump, heating elements, burner and igniting system.
  • Inspecting, cleaning and replacing the air filters.
  • Inspecting and cleaning the vent system.
  • Inspecting, testing and cleaning the blower.
  • Testing and monitoring the thermostats.
  • Lubricating moveable parts.
  • Checking and replacing the belts and pulleys.
  • Examining the furnace for any leakages.
  • Testing gas pressure, the pilot and the burner.
  • Inspecting the thermocouple.


Schedule Your Annual Home Furnace Maintenance

Regular furnace maintenance from a professional service provider is key to keeping your furnace at peak efficiency. No matter what heating, cooling or ventilation issue you may have, Crawford Mechanical Services can help.

We have over 25 years of experience serving the greater Columbus, Ohio, area. Our dedicated team of technicians works hard to provide the best services possible, from installations to repairs to maintenance. Contact us for more information or to schedule your annual home furnace maintenance.

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