Learning About Residential Furnaces

3 Furnace Repairs That Can Be Accomplished Through Cleaning

A faulty furnace can easily ruin any homeowner's day. Modern furnaces are complex appliances that rely on the cooperation of many different components to produce heat. All homeowners need to be able to troubleshoot furnace problems in order to maintain a comfortable living space.

Some repairs can be very complex and require the help of an experienced HVAC technician, while others can be solved with nothing more than a thorough cleaning. 

1. Fix a Faulty Flame Sensor

Gas furnaces are equipped with a safety component known as a flame sensor. The primary role of the flame sensor is to guard against the unsafe burning of fuel within your furnace.

A dirty flame sensor has the potential to wreak havoc on the comfort and safety of your home.  It is the flame sensor that prevents the accumulation of toxic carbon monoxide when your furnace malfunctions.

When the flame sensor gets dirty, it cannot correctly detect gas emissions within your furnace. Gas that is fed into the furnace will not be ignited, resulting in a buildup of carbon monoxide.

You can clean the flame sensor with steel wool to remove any oxidized residue. A thorough cleaning can repair a faulty flame sensor and restore the function of your furnace once again.

2. Address Dirty Burners

Air and fuel mix together and are ignited inside a furnace's burners. It's imperative that the burners in your furnace remain clean if you want to heat your home efficiently.

A dirty burner assembly can interfere with the ignition of natural gas in your furnace. This leads to a lack of heat flowing through your air ducts and into your living spaces.

There is a simple way to determine if your furnace has dirty burners. Look closely at the ignition flame in your furnace. If the flame appears steady and blue in color, the burners are clean. If the flame is orange or yellow, your burners need to be cleaned.

You can use a vacuum cleaner to eliminate any dust and debris that has accumulated in the burners. Your furnace should be able to properly produce heated air once dirty burners have been cleaned.

3. Restore Proper Airflow

Restricted airflow is a common problem for modern furnaces. The most likely cause of a sudden decline in airflow and heat production is a dirty filter. Air is pulled into the furnace from the outside environment. This air is eventually heated and pushed through a network of air ducts into your home.

The air pulled into your furnace passes through a filter to eliminate any contaminant particles. Over time, the filter can become clogged. Dirty filters prevent adequate airflow, which typically manifests as a reduction in heat output.

Remove the filter from your furnace and hold it up to a light source. If you can see light shining through the filter, it is still clean enough to use. If very little or no light can be seen, it's time to replace the filter.

It can be beneficial to invest in reusable air filters that can be washed and reinstalled in your furnace. A reusable filter can be cleaned at any time, giving you the ability to eliminate a dirty air filter even if you don't have a replacement on-hand.

Experts advise that homeowners replace their furnace air filter at least once every 90 days. Reusable filters can save you a significant amount of money over the life of your furnace.

If your furnace is malfunctioning, it's time to troubleshoot the problem. Many furnace repairs can be completed by simply cleaning one of the components found within the furnace. Consult with an HVAC technician who offers furnace repair services to learn more..


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