Furnace Maitenance And Repairs

Furnace maintenance and repairs are important to keep your home warm and comfortable and to prevent costly breakdowns. Regular maintenance, such as changing air filters, inspecting the heat exchanger, and cleaning the furnace, will help keep your furnace running efficiently and safely. Repairs, such as replacing worn out parts, will help keep your furnace functioning properly and efficiently. For the best results, it is important to hire a qualified HVAC technician to perform maintenance and repairs on your furnace. Doing so can help save you money in the long run on energy bills and prevent costly repairs.

A gas-fuel burner

Furance and its basic inspection

Modern furnaces, especially high efficiency models, are more complicated than models from decades ago. The efficiency gains are due in large part to the careful balancing of fuel, combustion air, and exhaust gasses. The management of these systems is accomplished through electronic controls, which need periodic adjustment and cleaning for optimum performance. An annual clean and tune of the furnace will keep the systems properly adjusted, and potentially reduce costly future repairs. A qualified technician should:

  • Check igniter and flame sensor.
  • Pull and clean burners.
  • Inspect heat exchanger for excess rust or cracks.
  • Blow out condensate line (90%+ models).
  • Check system static pressure.
  • Do a combustion analysis.
  • Check gas pressure.
  • Check for gas or venting leaks.
  • Inspect and lubricate blower motor.

Furance And homeowners Inspection

Additionally, there are a few things that homeowners can do to keep their furnace operating efficiently and safely:

  • Furnace filter replacement

A clogged furnace filter reduces the airflow through the system, making the furnace work harder and longer to deliver heat throughout the house. A standard filter (about 1 inch thick) should be replaced monthly, especially under dusty conditions. Larger pleated filters (3-6inches thick) are designed to remove smaller particles (pet dander, pollen, etc.) and may last several months. It is important to check with the furnace manufacturer to determine what types of filters can be used and how frequently they must be changed.

  • Condensate line

Higher efficiency furnaces condense water as part of the combustion process. There is usually a plastic/rubber drain line (about an inch in diameter) that leads from the furnace to a nearby drain. If this line becomes plugged, the furnace may not operate properly, and may even shut down. Check the line each time you replace a filter.

  • Air intake and exhaust

If the furnace cannot get fresh air or exhaust the combustion gasses, it may shut down. Partial blockages can lead to poor performance or dangerous conditions. Inspect plastic pipes that enter or leave the side of the house and ensure there are no insect or animal nests, foliage, or snow blocking the pipes. Furnaces that exhaust through a chimney should be inspected annually for blockages and to ensure the integrity of bricks, mortar, flashing, etc.

  • Adjust thermostat

Use your programmable thermostat to reduce the operation of the furnace at night and when you are not home.

Notes and Acknowledgement

The dangers of CO

When the by-products of combustion are not properly vented to the outside, it can lead to unhealthy conditions. Among the most dangerous components is carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless, invisible gas that causes illness and sometimes death among many Minnesotans every year.

What to look for

The symptoms of CO poisoning are easily confused with those of a flu or cold: headache, nausea, irritated eyes and nose, and eventually confusion and lethargy. The physical symptoms may lessen when away from the home. Another clue is moisture build-up in the house, especially condensation on cooler windows.


There are several possible causes of CO in a home, but many have to do with problems with the proper venting of flue gasses:

  • Cracked furnace heat exchanger
  • Blocked or undersized chimney or vents
  • Damaged or separated vents
  • Insufficient combustion air supply

Preventing CO in your home

These two recommendations will help keep your family safe:

  • Install code-required CO detectors near all combustion devices and within 10 feet of all bedrooms
  • Have annual inspections with a CO test of all combustion devices (furnace, water heater, fireplace, dryer, range)

Furnace filters

The furnace filter is located between the return duct (sometimes called “cold-air return”) and the furnace. The air is returning to the furnace from throughout the house, where it will be heated and redistributed through the supply duct.

Furnace System

Furnace filters have an arrow that indicates airflow direction; make sure it is aligned with the direction that air is flowing from the return duct into the furnace.

Some systems have a filter cover which covers the access to the filter. Be sure that it is sealed tightly to prevent air leaks. If there is no filter cover, seal with metal foil tape.


How often should I change my furnace air filter?
The frequency of changing your furnace air filter depends on various factors, including the type of filter, usage, and indoor air quality. As a general rule, it’s recommended to change the filter every 1-3 months during peak heating season. However, if you have pets or allergies, you may need to change it more frequently. A dirty filter can reduce airflow, increase energy bills, and even cause the furnace to malfunction.
What are the signs of a faulty heat exchanger in my furnace?

A faulty heat exchanger can be a serious safety concern, as it can lead to CO production. Signs of a faulty heat exchanger include rust or corrosion on the exterior, soot or debris accumulation, or unusual noises during furnace operation. Additionally, if your furnace is producing a strong, sweet or metallic odor, it may indicate a heat exchanger issue. If you suspect a faulty heat exchanger, it’s essential to contact a qualified HVAC technician for inspection and repair.

Can I perform furnace maintenance and repairs myself?

While some furnace maintenance tasks, such as changing air filters, can be done by homeowners, it’s generally recommended to hire a qualified HVAC technician for more complex tasks, such as inspecting the heat exchanger or replacing worn-out parts. Furnaces involve complex systems and safety hazards, and improper maintenance or repairs can lead to safety risks, reduced efficiency, or even void the warranty. A professional technician has the necessary expertise and equipment to perform maintenance and repairs safely and effectively.

How can I prevent carbon monoxide (CO) production in my home?

To prevent CO production in your home, ensure that your furnace, water heater, and other fuel-burning appliances are properly installed, maintained, and vented. Have your furnace inspected annually by a qualified HVAC technician, and never use generators or grills indoors. Additionally, install CO detectors on every level of your home and near sleeping areas. These detectors can alert you to potential CO buildup, allowing you to take prompt action to ensure your safety.

What are the benefits of hiring a qualified HVAC technician for furnace maintenance and repairs?

Hiring a qualified HVAC technician for furnace maintenance and repairs offers several benefits, including improved safety, increased efficiency, and extended equipment lifespan. A professional technician can identify potential issues before they become major problems, saving you money on energy bills and repair costs. Additionally, a technician can provide valuable advice on how to optimize your furnace’s performance and recommend energy-efficient upgrades. By hiring a qualified technician, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your furnace is running safely and efficiently.

What are the consequences of neglecting furnace maintenance?

Neglecting furnace maintenance can lead to reduced heating performance, increased energy bills, and even safety hazards. A dirty or clogged furnace can cause it to work harder, increasing energy consumption and reducing its lifespan. Moreover, a malfunctioning furnace can produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly in high concentrations. Regular maintenance helps prevent these issues and ensures your furnace operates efficiently and safely.