Seasonal Gas Furnace Maintenance Tips

  • 01 of 07

    Seasonal Furnace Maintenance Tips

    furnace maintenence technician
    Your furnace needs to be checked and maintained at least once per year. Fotolia

    Seasonal furnace maintenance is essential to make sure your standard or high efficiency gas furnace is running efficiently and safely. We'll walk through some of the steps in maintaining your furnace. It is also a good idea to locate a Carbon Monoxide detector badge at the furnace to monitor its safety.

    See my tutorial How To Test for Carbon Monoxide for reference.

    Difficulty Level

    • Easy

    Needed Tools and Materials

    • Screwdriver (possibly)
    • New Air Filter
    • Vacuum or shop vac
    • light oil for motor bearings
    Continue to 2 of 7 below.
  • 02 of 07

    Turn Off Gas and Electricity to Furnace

    furnace shut off switch
    The furnace shutoff switch can usually be found on the side of the furnace. © 2013

    As with all home repairs, the first step is to turn off the power and in this case, the fuel. There should be a switch on the side of the furnace, if not, check the electrical service panel and shut off the appropriate breaker.

    The gas line will be connected to the furnace in a black pipe and will have a shut off valve nearby. To shut off the gas, turn the valve so it is perpendicular to the gas line.

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  • 03 of 07

    Vacuum the Furnace Interior

    furnace maintenance
    Removing dirt / dust from the furnace is an annual maintenance task. Fotolia

    Open the furnace door. With a vacuum cleaner having a long snorkel attachment, vacuum out the base of the furnace and the gas burners. Get all the crevices cleaned of any loose dust or debris.
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  • 04 of 07

    Change the Air Filter

    furnace air filter
    Furnace air filter replacement is basic maintenence.

    The furnace filter is the one component that needs to be checked and possibly changed monthly during the heating season. Replace it as part of this seasonal maintenance.

    See the tutorial Furnace Filter Replacement.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Check the Fan belt

    furnace blower motor and fan belt
    Fan belt driven blowers will need to have the belt tension checked. iStock

    Just as on your car, fan belts wear and get loose. Check the fan belt on your furnace that drives the blower. Inspect the belt for glazing, cracking or fraying. If any of those signs are evident, replace the belt.

    Also check the belt tension. By pushing down in the center of the belt, it should feel taut and only deflect about 1/2" - 3/4". If it deflects more than that, tighten the belt by loosening the attachment bracket. Then, move the motor assembly so the belt tightens and hold the motor assembly in place while maintaining tension on the belt.

    Tighten the attachment bracket.

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  • 06 of 07

    Lubricate Oil Bearings

    furnace motor bearing lubrication points
    Bearing lubrication points will have caps on each end of the motor. These caps need to be removed to lubricate the bearings.

    If your furnace is older or if it has a motor without permanently sealed bearings, the bearings will need to be oiled. You will probably have to remove the blower motor to gain access to both ends of the motor.

    Find the oiling caps, one on each end of the motor. They may also be on the bearing shaft. Remove the caps and drop a few drops of lightweight household oil in the oil spout below the caps. Replace the caps and try not to over oil.

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  • 07 of 07

    Replace Furnace Cover and Reconnect

    replace furnace cover
    Replace the furnace cover. Getty

    Once completed, replace the furnace cover and turn the electrical power back on along with the gas. Relight the pilot if necessary.