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Basic Furnace Maintenance

To maximize your furnaces’ efficiency you can perform basic maintenance which can help keep it in good running order.

Thermostat

1. Confirm the thermostat has been working correctly, especially older dial thermostats. Sometimes older thermostats need to be recalibrated.

If your thermostat is not working properly you may consider replacing it with a programmable thermostat. These “smart thermostats" are capable of turning the home’s temperature down when your at work or at night when sleeping and turning the heat back up during the hours you need it. The advantage over older thermostats is that you can set it and forget it. Reducing the temperture by just a couple of degrees for a few hours can notably reduce your utility costs.

2. Turn the thermostat above the home’s current temperature so the furnace turns on.

Inspect the Furnace

3. Listen for unusual noises, banging or vibrations - an indication something could be wrong with the belt or fan.

4. Make sure gas isn’t leaking which you should be able to smell.

5. Check to make sure the flames in the furnace burner are constant and appear blue in colour. If the flames are yellow or orange or the flames are flickering its a sign there is an issue and you should call an HVAC specialist.

6. Return to thermostat and turn it off for the next steps.

Cleaning Inside of Furnace

7. Turn the electrical power switch to the furnace in the off position. If the furnace doesn’t have a power switch shut off the breaker from the electrical panel.

8. Open the access panel to the furnace, making sure it’s cooled down, and vacuum and clean out the base of the furnace. You can use a damp cloth to clean and wipe out dust in any areas that you can’t reach with the vacuum nozzle.

Inspect the Fan Belt

9. If your furnace has a fan belt, inspect it for any cracks or excessive wear and tear. If worn the belt should be replaced. Next, push down on the fan belt. If you can gently push it down more than half an inch you should have it tightened and adjusted.

Furnace Filter

10. This is perhaps the easiest and one of the most important things you can do to provide proper maintenance for your furnace. Excessive dust and dirt will lower the furnace efficiency and make the unit work harder than designed. Additionally you can reduce the amount of dust in your home with regular filter changes.

Change your furnace filter once a month when the furnace is running during Calgary’s colder months.