diy furnace maintenance

Getting your furnace ready for the cold is essential as the heating season draws near. Whether you have an electric or gas furnace, regular maintenance will help you avoid expensive repairs and keep your house warm and safe. In this article, we will guide you through the fundamentals of DIY furnace maintenance along with basic hand tools and knowledge that our experts have carefully curated.

DIY Furnace Maintenance Tasks

The air filter in your furnace is essential to preserving the purity of the air within your home and guaranteeing effective furnace functioning. Dust, pet dander, and other airborne particles are also kept out of your house and from clogging the furnace's internal components by a clean filter. Along with preserving high air quality, this shields the furnace's parts from undue wear and tear.


Checking your air filter once a month is advised by our HVAC professionals, particularly in the winter and summer when demand is high. Every three months at the very least, or more often if you have allergies, pets, or live in a dusty area, change the furnace filters.

Steps to Change the Furnace Filter:

Locate the Filter: To start with, figure out where your furnace system houses the furnace filter. Depending on the furnace design, this is usually located in the blower compartment.

Check Filter Type: Reusable or disposable filters are available for furnaces. Learn which kind you have, and if it's reusable, you can clean it as directed by the manufacturer rather than buying a new one.

Turn Off the Furnace: To guarantee safety while changing the furnace filter, always turn off the furnace at the thermostat and the main power switch.

Remove the Old Filter: To check its condition, slide out the old filter. It is most definitely time for a change when a filter is blocked with dust and debris.

Insert the New Filter: Align the new filter with the old one such that the airflow direction is indicated by the arrows on its frame pointing toward the furnace. Assure a tight fit with no openings at the corners.

Record the Change: Note the date the filter was changed and schedule a reminder for when the next one is due.

The burners are the heart of your furnace; they combine air and gas to produce a regulated flame that heats your house. The longevity and energy efficiency of your HVAC system depend upon the burners burning effectively, which is ensured by keeping their hot surface clean.

Steps to Inspect and Clean the Burners:

Turn Off Power and Gas: Safety comes first, turn off the gas and electricity. Verify the gas supply is cut off from the gas valve and the furnace is turned off.

Access the Burners: Take off your furnace's access panel. Depending on your model, this could call for a screwdriver or other equipment.

Inspect the Burners: Examine the burners for indications of misalignment or corrosion. Check for any obstructions or large debris accumulation as well.

Clean the Burners: Clear loose material with a vacuum hose attachment. Soft brushes work well for more difficult residues. Take care not to break anything.

Reassemble and Test: Reassemble the furnace and switch back on the gas and electricity when everything is tidy and in place. Run the furnace briefly to be sure everything is operating as it should.

Frequency: Ideally, this chore should be completed before the heating season starts, but at least once a year.

A safety feature, the flame sensor checks that your furnace's flames are burning properly and, should it identify an unsafe situation, turns off the furnace power system. An additional essential part that ignites the gas to initiate the heat exchange process is the pilot light.


Ideally, these parts should be cleaned and checked once a year, right before the heating season begins.

Steps to Check and Clean:

Find the Pilot Light and Flame Sensor: Usually located close to the burners. See the precise place in your owner's manual.

Clean the Flame Sensor: Remove the flame sensor with caution. Gentle clean any accumulation with steel wool or fine emery cloth. Steer clear of too aggressive cleaning products and too harsh chemicals.

Inspect the Pilot Light: You need to make sure the pilot light is working properly by looking for a strong blue flame. Your gas supply may be malfunctioning or the pilot itself may need cleaning if it is weak or yellow.

Clean the Pilot Light: If at all possible, thoroughly clean the area surrounding the pilot light. Blow out any dirt or debris using compressed air.

Note: Similar to flame sensor cleaning is the process of maintaining the hot surface igniters. Located near the gas valve, behind the set of four burners, the hot surface igniter must be cleaned thoroughly.

The need to clean the furnace interior lies in the fact that dust and other debris can lower performance and create a fire hazard. Routine DIY furnace tune-ups can help to guarantee the smooth and effective operation of your furnace.


This task should be performed annually, ideally before the heating season begins.

Steps to Vacuum the Interior:

Access the Interior: To enter the furnace, open the primary access panel. Your furnace model may require a screwdriver or other equipment.

Vacuum Thoroughly: Thoroughly clean all accessible parts of the furnace using a vacuum with a hose attachment. The blower motor and heat exchanger are two places that are especially likely to gather a lot of debris.

Check for Damage: While the panels are off, look for any wear and damage, including frayed wires, rust or corrosion on the heat exchanger, or other possible problems.

The blower motor and blower shaft bearings should always be lubricated to prevent overheating and wear and to guarantee smooth operation. Check your manufacturer's instructions first as not all blower motors require lubrication.


If your system requires it, this should be completed once a year, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Steps to Lubricate:

Locate Lubrication Ports:

Certain motors don't need to be lubricated because they have sealed bearings. Locate the oil ports, which tend to be on the motor body, for those that do.

Apply Oil:

Fill each port with a few drops of light machine oil. Use of all-purpose oil is discouraged since it might draw dust and cause accumulation.

Operate the Blower:

Restart the furnace and let the blower blades operate for a few minutes to uniformly disperse the oil.

The heat exchanger in your furnace is essential in keeping only clean, warm air flowing through your house by separating combustion gases from the breathable air. There are major health hazards to your family if a damaged heat exchanger allows carbon monoxide leakage. The safe and effective operation of your furnace depends on routine heat exchanger inspections.

The heat exchanger's defects or cracks could let the dangerous gas carbon monoxide enter the house's air. Carbon monoxide is colorless and smells like nothing, hence without the right tools, it is difficult to find. Since they develop under the strain of many heating and cooling cycles, even tiny cracks can be deadly.


Ideally, this inspection should be carried out before the beginning of the heating season, but at least once a year.


Safety First:

First, safety. Make sure the furnace is turned off all the way to prevent mishaps. This implies that the gas supply and the electricity should be cut off.

Visual Inspection:

Using a powerful flashlight, start with a visual investigation. Look for indications of cracks or unusual wear on the heat exchanger's surface. Using mirrors on extended handles, one can examine difficult-to-reach places.

Use Detection Techniques:

A tiny camera or boroscope can fit into tight locations and show a detailed picture of the heat exchanger's surface on a screen for a more comprehensive inspection.

Chemical Check:

To identify a leak, some experts utilize a chemical test kit that can find carbon monoxide surrounding the heat exchanger.

Seek Professional HELP:

To confirm the existence of cracks and correctly fix them, you must call in a licensed technician, such as those at Comfort Union who can carry out a pressure test or use more advanced diagnostic equipment.

While initial visual inspections can be completed by the customer, any damage or suspicion of cracks should be promptly treated by a professional. This inspection can be quite complicated.

For every home that heats with combustion, carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are a must. Among other home equipment, malfunctioning furnaces can release carbon monoxide, a hazardous chemical, which these gadgets warn you about. Inhaled in high amounts, carbon monoxide can result in serious health issues and even death. Lives can be saved by early identification made possible by working CO detectors.


Batteries should be changed at least once a year and CO detectors should be checked periodically to make sure they are operating as intended. The maker's instructions call for replacing the detectors itself every five to seven years.


Test Functionality:

A test button is found on the majority of CO detectors. To make sure your alarm sounds loudly enough to be heard across your house, press this button. Should the sound be weak or nonexistent, change the batteries and try again.

Check Expiry Date:

Look for an expiration date on your CO detector. Should this date pass, replace the unit right away.

Battery Replacement:

In the unlikely event of a power outage, your detector should have a backup battery even if it is linked to your home's electrical system. We replace these batteries once a year.

Placement Check:

Make sure CO detectors are positioned close to every sleeping room in your house and on every floor, including the basement. Installing detectors at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning equipment will help prevent false alerts.

Note: In addition to adding CO detectors, it is also key to inspect the combustion chamber door for any soot buildup and avoid hazardous issues.

An efficient furnace depends on well-sealed ductwork. There will be inconsistency in the heating of the house, decreased efficiency, and wasted energy due to leaking ducts. Your furnace works harder and your energy bills go up when ductwork leaks lets hot air leave before it gets to your living areas. In addition to lowering the strain on your furnace, well-sealed ducts help to maintain constant temperatures throughout your house.


Inspect ducts annually, particularly before the heating season begins.


Identify Leaks:

To find leaks, turn on the furnace fan (set the thermostat to "fan only") and use a smoke pencil or incense sticks to mark the locations where air escapes the ducting. Look for smoke being drawn into or blasted out of the ducting.

Seal Leaks:

To stop leaks, use metal tape or mastic sealant. Standard duct tape does not resist high temperatures over time, hence do not use it.

Insulate Ducts:

Seal leaks and then insulate ducts that go through cold areas to keep the air warm there until it gets to its destination.

Retaining comfort with heated air and furnace efficiency in your house requires an accurate and well-functioning thermostat. Your furnace is informed by the thermostat of how much heat to create and when to produce it. Over- or underheating as well as higher energy use might result from a malfunctioning or inaccurate thermostat.


Before the beginning of every heating season, check and adjust your thermostat.


Calibration Check:

Check the thermostat's reading against a reliable room thermometer for calibration. Should the change be noticeable, either replace or recalibrate your thermostat.

Battery Replacement:

To prevent any performance issues change the batteries in your thermostat once a year.


Think about going to a smart or programmable thermostat. With their automatic temperature control based on your schedule, these gadgets may save energy and increase comfort.

No amount of do-it-yourself maintenance can match the knowledge and experience of a trained HVAC specialist. Your furnace will run at maximum efficiency and possible issues that an inexperienced eye could miss are found during an annual check by a licensed expert. A specialist will carefully evaluate the heat exchanger, burner functioning, and electrical connections among other vital systems of the furnace during these checks.

Along with measuring airflow, they look for gas leaks. This preventative measure guarantees adherence to safety rules, prolongs the life of your furnace, and helps avoid unplanned breakdowns, which eventually gives you peace of mind and saves you money on any emergency repairs.

Note icon | Comfort Union

Why Choose Us?

For starters, we will show up on time with a fully stocked service van, eager to resolve your heating, cooling, plumbing or electrical problem.

Braeden RigbyBraeden Rigby
19:47 25 May 24
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14:52 23 May 24
I spent almost one year to find the best HVaC replacement company and finally landed with Comfort union .I initially thought it was a small job but then realized the magnitude of work and effort it goes into it ..Asif initially came to my house , explained to me everything in detail including what is code of guidelines expected by city of Calgary , that showed his knowledge on the whole process ..Then came his brother Moore for installation - you will never find such a wonderful person who knows in and out of the HVAC and moreover the most patient person I have ever seen .. he did the whole installation with absolute craftsmanship and love for the work he did .. the best part was his perfectness and every work he did was so perfect and tidy !Finally, came Khan ji - to do the final inspection to add perfectness over the perfectness carried by Moore .. He did inspection and made sure everything was 200% correct ..Overall , I would recommend comfort union over any other service provider …Replaced my furnace , water tank and my humidifier …
JJ YanJJ Yan
02:22 22 May 24
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mr2008 2.0mr2008 2.0
04:08 12 May 24
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20:52 06 May 24
It was great to see a father and son team work so professionally in the delivery and installation of our new Bradford White water heater. Thanks team for a wonderful job.
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03:21 30 Apr 24
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02:59 30 Apr 24
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23:04 06 Apr 24
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01:45 31 Mar 24
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06:38 10 Mar 24
Imran Ahmed KhanImran Ahmed Khan
06:04 10 Mar 24
Maggie VaccaroMaggie Vaccaro
21:26 05 Mar 24
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22:57 26 Feb 24
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04:44 10 Feb 24
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22:28 08 Feb 24
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02:33 07 Feb 24
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21:21 22 Jan 24
I had an issue with my furnace, went to reset my main breaker to power cycle trying to troubleshoot it... Breaker crapped out so I was sitting on an electrical, and furnace problem.Gave these guys a call and they were able to come out within 2 hours. Required a full main breaker replacement, and new gas valve on my furnace. They diagnosed it in only a couple hours, and fixed everything the same day.Had a great experience, the technicians that showed up were professional, and very knowledgeable. I'll definitely be using these guys when I eventually have replace my aging furnace.
Sharif ZayedSharif Zayed
00:15 22 Jan 24
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Syed Zaigham RizviSyed Zaigham Rizvi
05:29 18 Jan 24
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00:23 06 Jan 24
Absolutely stellar service from this HVAC company! The team was prompt, professional, and incredibly knowledgeable. They swiftly diagnosed and fixed our heating issue with precision. Their attention to detail and commitment to customer satisfaction truly set them apart. A 5-star experience – our go-to HVAC experts!
Agit KokuAgit Koku
21:40 13 Apr 23
I recently had Comfort Union come to my home to fix an issue with my hot water tank's pilot issue. Not only did the technician promptly fix the issue, but they also took the time to clean out my drain as a courtesy. I was impressed by their attention to detail and their commitment to providing excellent customer service.I would highly recommend Comfort Union for anyone in need of plumbing services.

Benefits of Regular Furnace Maintenance

For a number of significant factors that immediately affect your comfort, safety, and finances, routine maintenance of your furnace is not only recommended but it is considered to be essential. Here’s why maintaining your furnace in excellent working order is so important:

carrier furnace

Improved Efficiency

A furnace that has been maintained runs more effectively than one that is not. Airflow and heat transfer can be hampered by dust and wear that furnaces’ burners and filters develop over time. By making sure these parts work well, routine cleaning and inspections minimize the amount of energy needed to heat your house and, consequently, your utility bills.

Extended Equipment Lifespan

Replacing a furnace can be costly. Because routine maintenance stops undue wear and tear on its parts, it prolongs the life of your heating system. To maximize your investment and postpone the need for expensive repairs, take care of little problems like changing out worn belts and lubricating moving parts before they become serious ones.

Enhanced Safety

Protecting your family’s and your home’s safety is maybe the most important reason for routine furnace service. A broken furnace can let off the deadly, odorless gas carbon monoxide or cause fires from overheated motors or defective electrical parts. By making sure safety features like carbon monoxide detectors and flame sensors are operating as intended, routine inspections and repairs reduce these hazards.

Prevention of Unexpected Breakdowns

Routine maintenance identifies possible issues before they become furnace breakdowns. You want to be out of the cold during the coldest days of winter, not have a furnace malfunction. When you most need your furnace to work effectively, preventative maintenance helps to guarantee that it will be dependable

Better Air Quality

Dust, allergies, and other contaminants are circulated through your home less frequently when the air filter is changed and ducts and other components are cleaned. For those with allergies or respiratory problems in particular, this is quite helpful because it guarantees a healthier, cleaner air environment.

Cost Savings

Regular maintenance does have an initial outlay, but the long-term savings can mount up. Monthly bills are reduced by the less energy that efficient furnaces use. Moreover, regular inspections lower the possibility of having to pay a large repair price by preventing serious problems.

DIY or Professional Help?

Keep in mind that performing routine maintenance on your own not only keeps your heating costs down but also protects your property from potential threats and guarantees optimal operation.  However, while doing your own furnace maintenance can be simple, you should know when to contact a qualified furnace repair specialist. Strange noises, regular cycling, or yellow burner flames could be signs of more serious problems that call for professional help.

As we say at Comfort Union, taking a proactive approach to furnace maintenance is your best defense against the winter cold. If you need expert furnace maintenance, feel free to reach out to us for an annual inspection, or for an emergency service, in case things don’t look good.

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