Why Your Furnace Needs To Be Cleaned Regularly

Your furnace works hard to keep you cozy and warm during the winter. You can do your part to help your furnace operate optimally by having it cleaned at least once each year by a professional. Here's why furnace cleaning is necessary, what can happen if you don't keep your furnace clean, and what cleaning entails.

Why Cleaning A Furnace Is Necessary

The air in your home circulates through the furnace, and a surprising amount of dust and debris can get inside and settle on the parts. A filter is in place to block most of the dust, but some still makes its way inside. If your furnace is in the basement, the space may be dustier than your living space, and that increases the risk of your furnace getting dust buildup inside.

If you have a gas furnace, you have to worry about soot building up on the ignition parts of your furnace. By having soot and dust cleaned away at least yearly, your furnace will stay clean and operate more efficiently. Plus, your furnace warranty might require an annual maintenance call that includes cleaning.

What Can Happen If Your Furnace Gets Dirty

When dust builds up inside, it can affect how well the parts operate. The blower is one part that's affected by dust accumulation. The blower is a cage fan that spins and blows air through the ducts. When the fan gets coated with dust, it can't spin as easily, and that stresses the motor. You may experience reduced airflow from the registers, or the dust might even wear out the fan motor and lead to the need for repairs. Plus, if the fan is dusty, it can blow dust throughout your house.

Soot buildup is a problem too because it can interfere with the ignition system of your furnace. The pilot may not work properly if it's clogged with soot. Your furnace might become less efficient, or it may not be able to cycle on if the flame sensor is coated in soot. A more serious problem is puff back where a small explosion occurs and blows soot out of the furnace and contaminates your basement or home.

How Furnace Cleaning Is Done

Deep-cleaning your furnace is a job for a professional who can take the parts from the furnace to clean them thoroughly. The technician might pull out the blower fan so individual blades can be cleaned. Parts from the ignition area have to be pulled out and cleaned too. This may entail using a brush to scrape away clingy soot.

If you have an HVAC system that has a furnace that shares the air handler with an air conditioner, you may need to have the blower in the air handler cleaned twice a year so it stays free of dust while operating the furnace in the winter and the AC in the summer.