If it has been more than a year since your last professional furnace maintenance appointment, it’s a good idea to schedule a cleaning and inspection. Regular furnace cleaning is important in order to maintain efficiency and safety. In most cases, furnace cleaning is recommended at least once a year, typically right before the heating season begins. If your furnace is older, or if you have a lot of pets and/or a large family, then more frequent cleaning is advisable.
Failing to perform regular furnace cleaning can result in all sorts of issues, some of which can affect your indoor air quality and endanger the health of your loved ones.
Even if you are on a regular furnace cleaning schedule, there may be times outside of regular maintenance cycles when a cleaning is needed. How do you know? Let’s look at some of the signs that furnace cleaning should be performed sooner rather than later:
- High energy bills
- Reduced heating efficiency
- Unusual noises/frequent cycling
- Funny smells
- Increased allergies or respiratory issues
- Dirt, debris, or clogged filters
- Yellow furnace pilot light flame
High Energy Bills
Shocked by unusually high utility charges? There are many reasons for spikes in energy bills, including the rising cost of fuel, but often the reason is dirt buildup in your furnace, which causes it to overwork and consume more energy.
Here’s how to know if a furnace cleaning might bring down your next bill. Check with your utility company to see if there’s been a recent rate hike. If you have a lot of appliances, particularly older appliances, unplug all but the absolutely necessary ones. If next month’s bill is still running high, chances are good that a furnace cleaning is in order. And if you also have any of the other symptoms we’ll discuss, don’t wait.
Reduced Heating Efficiency
Does it seem to take longer than usual to heat your home? Are some rooms colder than others? The culprit is likely something wrong with your furnace. The first step in addressing less effective heating efficiency is a cleaning to return everything back to normal.
Unusual Noises/Frequent Cycling
Do you have a ghost in your machine? Strange or loud noises such as banging, popping, or rattling when the furnace is operating indicate that something is interfering with normal operation. An often-related issue is when your furnace turns on and off more frequently than usual. It could be a mechanical issue, but a simple cleaning is often the answer (and is less expensive!).
Increased Allergies or Respiratory Issues
Coughing more? If you or your family members are experiencing more allergy symptoms or respiratory issues when the furnace is running, the likely reason is airborne contaminants circulated by a dirty furnace.
Take a Look at Your Furnace
Dirt, Debris, or a Clogged Filter
Everything gets dirty over time. A furnace located in a basement or crawl space is particularly susceptible to dirt, as these areas aren’t often vacuumed or cleaned. Regular cleaning will improve your furnace’s overall performance and ensure a longer working life.
Turn off the furnace, open the access panel, and inspect the interior. If you see a significant amount of dust or debris on components like the blower motor, burners, or heat exchanger, it’s a clear sign that cleaning is needed.
Check the air filter to see if it needs to be cleaned or replaced. Recheck it a couple of days later. If the new or cleaned air filter is already dirty again after such a short time, that’s a sure sign that your furnace could use a good scrubbing.
Yellow Furnace Pilot Light
If you have a gas furnace, a yellow or flickering pilot light can indicate combustion issues caused by a dirty burner. If you see this, a furnace cleaning is a must! A combustion problem can lead to a carbon monoxide leak, which is dangerous to your health.
The Basics of Furnace Cleaning
Regular cleaning and maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your furnace, improve its efficiency, and ensure safe operation. If you notice any of the signs that indicate the need for furnace cleaning, contact a qualified HVAC technician to inspect and clean your furnace to prevent potential issues and hazards.
Can you do this yourself? Keeping the area around the furnace clean and changing/cleaning the air filter are certainly things you can do. However, a professional cleaning takes it a step further and ensures efficient operation and safety with a complete tune-up of your furnace. A professional furnace cleaning and maintenance inspection includes:
- Cleaning/replacing air filters
- Checking thermostat operation and changing batteries (if so equipped)
- Inspecting/cleaning flue
- Examining/cleaning heat exchanger
- Ensuring all safety controls are in good working order
- Ensuring natural gas pressure is set correctly (if you have a gas furnace)
- Inspecting ductwork for visible leaks
Call Ongaro and Sons for Furnace Cleaning and Maintenance
Ongaro and Sons is well-known for the professional and cost-effective furnace cleaning and maintenance checks we’ve been performing for our customers since 1932. Our NATE-certified technicians (North American Technician Excellence) are trained to work on all forced air and air conditioning units. If needed, our fully stocked trucks have replacement parts on hand for most repairs, and if we don’t have the part immediately, we’ll get it quickly, so you’ll be up and running in a very short time.
Call Ongaro and Sons to schedule your yearly furnace cleaning and tune-up. Or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment or ask a question about furnace cleaning.