As a homeowner, you’re likely aware of all the different places that dirt can accumulate. In many ways, this is one of the most frustrating parts of being a homeowner since it takes extra time to remove this hard-to-reach dirt. Like any other appliance, your furnace or heat pump needs regular cleanings to ensure it can operate perfectly throughout the winter in San Antonio. While the pros at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating always clean your system during annual maintenance, here are a few tips to help you perform this process yourself if you want to do it more often.
Turn Off the Power
When working with your furnace or heat pump, the first step is to turn off the power. A thorough cleaning will put you in close contact with many electrical components, meaning the best way to stay safe is for you to de-energize these components. If you have an exterior unit, there is likely a localized cut-off switch somewhere close to the unit. Your interior components likely get their power from the circuit breaker, meaning that you’ll need to turn off the appropriate breakers before work can begin. If you have a gas furnace, it’s also imperative that you turn off the gas supply.
Remove the Cover
For indoor equipment, either a furnace or heat pump, the next step is to remove the cover. The cover is most often held in place with small bolts or screws that you’ll need to take out in order to remove the cover. When removing the cover, be careful of any sharp edges that could easily cut you. Also, keep in mind that you may need to remove more than one cover to access the necessary components.
Replace the Filter
Once all the prep work is complete, your first cleaning step is to look at your air filter. If it’s clean, you don’t need to replace it. However, you will want to take it out of the furnace while you’re working so that you don’t expose it to dust that you move around during the cleaning process. If you have a washable filter, now is the perfect time to remove and wash the filter so that it’s dry by the time you’re done with the rest of the furnace. Moving forward, Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating recommends that you check your air filter once a month for cleanliness.
Clean Your Outdoor Unit
If you have a heat pump, your system will have an outdoor unit that extracts heat from the outdoor air. To keep this unit operating efficiently, it’s a good idea to give it a thorough cleaning. You can use either soap and water or condenser cleaner to clean the fins around the perimeter of the condenser. Once the cleaner has a chance to soak for a while, you can rinse off the unit using high-pressure water from a garden hose. Additionally, it’s wise to give the unit room to breathe by clearing away bushes, grass, or anything else within approximately two feet of the unit.
Clean the Evaporator Coil
Once you’re done outside, it’s time to move your focus to the interior components. If you have a heat pump, you’ll need to clean the evaporator coil inside the air handler. There are special cleaners you can purchase to take care of this task. The important feature of these cleaners is that they don’t require water to work their magic, which prevents you from having to use water in an enclosed space near electrical components.
Clean the Inside of the Unit
It is often surprising how dirty the inside of a furnace or heat pump can become. To help reduce the risk of a malfunction, it’s important to remove as much dust and dirt as you can. You can use a vacuum cleaner that’s equipped with a good filter for this task. For some surfaces, a damp rag works best. Importantly, you’ll want to be sure to dust off electrical wires, switches, and other components. This will help ensure maximum conductivity so that the furnace works as intended.
Clean the Burners
A gas furnace depends entirely on its burners to create heat. That means you’ll want to make sure these burners are clean. Burner contamination is often caused by small bits of ash that result from the combustion of dust that gets caught in the burner. Over time, this ash can clog the jets where the natural gas leaves its pipe, resulting in uneven and incomplete combustion. In addition to reducing efficiency, clogged burners can lead to the release of carbon monoxide in your home. You may be able to clean your burners using a vacuum cleaner. However, if the dirt has been sitting for a while, it’s best to call Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating for assistance.
Clean the Blower Fan
Another component you’ll need to clean while you’ve got access to your system is the blower fan. This component moves air through your HVAC system so that it can be heated or cooled. As the blades of the fan move through the air, they can collect dust, which can eventually weigh the fan down so that it doesn’t move the same amount of air. A vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment is a good tool to use for this task.
Clean Around the Unit
Once you’ve finished cleaning all the components of your HVAC system, you’ll want to be sure to clean around it as well. Make sure to move any items that could restrict airflow and to remove any scrap materials that could be combustible. Maintaining quick and easy access to all sides of your system will help make maintenance easier and ensure that you can get to any component quickly in the event of an emergency.
Test the Unit
After you’ve replaced the filter and re-attached the front cover, turn the power back on to test the unit. Since your house will likely be cooler than normal, you may want to consider setting your thermostat just one or two degrees higher than the current temperature so that the system doesn’t run for an unusually long time. While the system is running, make sure to listen for any unusual sounds that could indicate a problem with the way something was installed. Once you complete this final check, you’re ready to enjoy efficient and effective heat production thanks to your maintenance efforts.
Always Ready to Help
If you need assistance at any point during the maintenance process, the pros at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating are ready to help. We can take care of maintenance for both furnaces and air conditioners, along with the installation and maintenance of all types of HVAC equipment. We also offer duct cleaning services, ductless air conditioner installation, indoor air quality testing, and more. For over 30 years, homeowners and businesses around the area have trusted us with their home comfort needs, consistently leaving positive feedback. As further proof of our commitment to integrity, we are rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. To learn more about servicing your furnace, contact us at Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating today.