With warmer temperatures on the horizon, you'll find that you won't need to use your furnace as much as you used to. Sooner or later, you'll end up not using your furnace altogether. If you're ready to give your furnace a well-deserved break, then here are a few tips you can use to ensure that it stays in great shape throughout the late spring and summer months.
Vacuum the Area Around Your Furnace
The first thing you'll want to do is clean up any dust or debris that has accumulated around the base of the furnace. You can use a broom and dust pan for this task, but you'll find it much easier to use a wet/dry shop vacuum for this purpose. It's also a good idea to dust the furnace cabinet itself, as this will help prevent the customary burning smell that often greets occupants upon turning the furnace on after months of disuse.
Still Using a Pilot Light? Turn It Off to Save Gas
While most of today's furnaces rely on electronic ignition to activate the burners, there are still quite a few furnaces that depend on a pilot light. As it turns out, letting your pilot light continuously burn throughout the late spring and summer months can easily add up, since a typical pilot light can burn anywhere from 5 to 12 therms of natural gas each month.
Shutting off your pilot light can help reduce your natural gas consumption and the resulting bill by a significant amount each month. It can also lighten the load your air conditioner has to carry throughout the summer by eliminating a potential source of unnecessary heat.
Check and Clean the Furnace Burners
Another thing you can do to prepare your gas furnace for its upcoming dormancy involves checking and cleaning the burners. To check the burners, simply remove the combustion chamber door and observe the burner flames as the system operates. The flames coming from the burners should be even and blue in appearance. Yellow or uneven flames may indicate dirty burners.
To clean the burners themselves, start by vacuuming the burners and the surrounding area with a wet/dry shop vacuum. Carefully disconnect each burner from its feed pipe and use a medium-bristled brush to sweep out accumulated dust, dirt, and soot. Wipe each burner down with a damp, clean cloth and inspect the burners once more for any signs of rust or corrosion. Afterwards, reinstall each burner and turn on the furnace to make sure they're operating properly.
Check the Condensate Line
If you have an energy-efficient condensing furnace, make sure the drain line is not only intact, but also free of any potential obstructions. Use your wet/dry shop vacuum to suction any debris present within the line. If your drain line features a clean-out cap or plug near the furnace, open the plug and pour a cup of white vinegar into the drain line. Not only will this eat away at the gunk inside the line, but it'll also disinfect the line and prevent algae and mildew from multiplying.
Don't Forget to Change Your Furnace Filter
Your furnace filter may be the easiest furnace maintenance item to take care of, but it can also be easy to forget about. There's a good chance that your furnace filter is nearly clogged with dust, dirt and other airborne particulates it has captured over the past few weeks. Replacing your furnace filter not only ensures you'll have a relatively clean filter the next time you start your furnace, but it'll also prevent mold spores from taking up residence within your furnace.
For more advice, contact a furnace repair company like Custom Comfort.