Furnaces are one of those household items that aren’t given much thought – until they decide to malfunction or stop working completely. Although a complete furnace inspection is best left to a qualified and experienced professional, there are a few basic checks that can be carried out by Chicago homeowners to help prevent operational and safety issues at a later stage. You all know how cold it can get in Chicago and getting caught with a broken furnace during the winter could be a nightmare.

  1. Safety First

Before performing any checks or maintenance on your furnace, it is crucial that you turn off the electrical power and fuel supply. Once you have completed a basic check on your furnace, be sure to turn the electricity and fuel supply back on.

  1. Change the Filter

Your furnace works hard to keep your home in Chicago comfortable inside. As a result, its filter unit can become clogged and dirty within a matter of a few months. Once clogged, it will result in poor air flow that will in turn decrease the quality of the air in your home. It is recommended that you replace your furnace filter every month for 1” thick filters or once every six months for thick media filters.

  1. Check the Burner Flame

A furnace flame should be blue and burn evenly. If the flame is burning yellow, it is an indication that the burner is dirty or that carbon monoxide is being produced. If your burner flame is yellow, it is best to call an expert immediately.

  1. Vacuum Burners and Clean the Blower Unit

Vacuum up any dust around the burners, furnace base or blower compartment. When doing this be sure to not disturb any wiring.

  1. Clean around the Pilot, Flame Sensor and Hot Surface Ignitor

A clean drinking straw can be used to blow dust away from these parts of your furnace. However, it’s essential that you do not touch the hot surface ignitor when doing so.

  1. Lubricate the Bearings

A large number of furnace units have blower shaft and motor bearings. It is recommended that these be lubricated with light duty oil once a year.

  1. Inspect the Drive Belt

This should be checked a few times a year for signs of wear. If it is cracked or damaged, it’s recommended that it be replaced as soon as possible.

  1. Check Exhaust Pipes and Air Intake

These should not be blocked, as it will result in your furnace having to work harder to produce heat. All debris such as ice, snow, leaves and dirt should be cleared away from exterior furnace exhaust pipes.

  1. Seal Leaks in the Vents

If you detect any leaks while inspecting your furnace unit, these can be sealed by using heat resistant silicone or metal tape. This will enable your furnace to operate more efficiently.

If you have performed all of the above inspections and your furnace still seems to be sluggish or is underperforming, it may be time to call in the experts. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment with one of our technicians in Chicago to have a complete furnace inspection performed.