How to Maintain Your Furnace

With the harsh winter weather rolling in it’s important to make sure your furnace is running properly, otherwise, you may run into a big problem!

Without warning
one day your furnace might just call it quits, leaving you and your family in the cold, learn the signs so that you can keep yourself and your family warm this winter.

1. Keep an eye and an ear out for weird sounds

Sometimes furnaces can make weird noises or hum every 15 minutes, but how do you tell if it’s a good hum or a bad hum? Well, the hum isn’t the problem! It’s the snap, crackles, and pops you need to look out for, and no I don’t mean the cereal kind.

Noises like these could indicate electrical problems with your furnace, this could potentially lead to the furnace breaking down, or even worse, a fire! Another noise to look out for is the “Horror Movie Shriek” which is a high-pitched squealing noise, and no this doesn’t mean your furnace is haunted, although your child may think so.

The loud shrieking noise a furnace makes could be caused by the motor belt slipping or it is in need of lubrication, this is the most common reason for your furnace to make noise. If your furnace is making this kind of noise it can most likely be troubleshot by you, all you’d need to do is turn your furnace off, let it cool down, adjust/lubricate the belt, and there you go, good as the day you fixed it!

2. No, that weird smell isn’t coming from your partner/spouse

Smelling something odd coming from your basement? Before you rack your brain over the various things it could be, check your furnace, more specifically your furnace filter.

At the start of the season, when you turn your furnace on for the first time in a while, you may smell burning dirt, and that is completely normal, but the rest of the time it shouldn’t smell. Furnaces are not meant to produce any kind of odour, so if your furnace is, it’s a clear indication that something is wrong.

Most times the reason a furnace emits a bad smell is due to a dirty filter, clogged vents or ducts, this can be simply solved by changing the filter or cleaning out the ducts. If your furnace is producing a gas or burning plastic smell, then there might be trouble, in this case, you must turn off the furnace, go outside, and wait for assistance, remember smelling gas is always bad, no matter what kind.

3. Watch it like a hawk, or well more like paint drying

Checking out the exterior of your furnace is the easiest way to detect a problem, if there is a large amount of dirt or dust your furnace may be on a downward spiral with more problems in the future.

When in passing just give your furnace a once over, check for any rust, burn marks, or moisture, these are signs that there is a problem with your furnace. Checking the blower fan on the unit will allow you to see if it is dirty and clogged, cleaning this is very important to the health of your furnace and should be checked with every filter change.

So, there you have it, using three simple senses is the best way to monitor your furnace to make sure it is healthy and safe for your family.

  • Listen for any out of the blue noises, and don’t freak out because it’s not a ghost, it’s your furnace, and most likely just a belt slip.
  • Stop smelling all the people in your house, the cause of that smell is your furnace, and making sure your furnace doesn’t smell keeps you safe from potential hazards.
  • Finally, next time you’re around your furnace just give it a quick look over, anything out of the blue probably doesn’t belong there and could mean that it’ll get worse from there.

This winter season make sure your furnace is in top condition, otherwise, you may have a lot of cold nights ahead of you.

At Man with a Wrench, you can get a free virtual diagnostic to help you address any of your furnace issues. Man with a Wrench is your one-stop-shop for all electrical, plumbing, and appliance repair or installation needs.