Winters in Anoka, Minnesota, can be brutal. Cold, below-freezing temperatures characterize winters in this part of the country. It would be beneficial if you had your furnace or heat pump working its best to keep you and your family safe and sound.
To keep your furnace or heat pump working properly year-round, we recommend annual servicing by experienced HVAC professionals. It is good to schedule a cleaning and maintenance during the fall months. You want to do so right before winter unleashes its fury. The following tips can help keep your furnace or heat pump clean and operating at peak condition.
How to Clean a Furnace
As a homeowner, you should know how to clean your furnace because it is key to keeping dirt and debris from accumulating in your unit. Regular cleanings can help improve your furnace’s performance. For example, if there is debris and dirt buildup on the heat exchanger or the burners, it can impact your furnace’s ability to heat your home correctly. If there is a lot of buildup on the blower, it will increase your furnace’s heat load, leading to excessive wear and tear on different components. These issues will result in your furnace working harder than it should, reducing its longevity and leading to expensive and frustrating repairs.
Before cleaning your furnace, ensure that the unit is disconnected from electrical power and gas. Once you have done so, you can safely remove the cabinet doors and start some light cleaning using compressed air, a small brush, a damp cloth, or a vacuum.
Cleaning the Furnace Blower
The furnace blower distributes warm air from the furnace and circulates the cool air from your air conditioning unit. This is because both your furnace and your AC unit use the same blower. A professional HVAC technician would start cleaning your furnace by disassembling the blower assembly. This will give them greater access to clean and inspect the unit.
If you need to replace your blower unit, it is expensive and time-consuming. A simple cleaning can keep it operating at maximum efficiency for longer, which will save you money. Additionally, if your motor housing and blower motor are clean, there is going to be less dust circulating through your home. Your family will appreciate the improved air quality.
Cleaning the Furnace Flame Sensor
The furnace flame sensor is critical for the safe operation of your unit. You will find the furnace flame sensor in the burner assembly. It might look like a small rod. This sensor’s only job is to detect a flame when the gas is on. If the gas is on and there is no flame, this sensor will turn off the gas.
If the flame sensor is dirty, it may not detect the flame. It will constantly be turning your unit off. Since the sensor is exposed to fire continuously, it will develop a grimy buildup. This grimy buildup needs to be sanded and wiped off. While homeowners may attempt to do this cleaning, it is best to have an experienced HVAC technician who knows how to clean this delicate sensor do the work. This will ensure that your furnace continues to function safely and reliably.
Cleaning the Furnace Coils
Your furnace has evaporator coils. The evaporator coils are connected to your furnace cabinet. To clean the coils, a technician will shut off the system and remove the access panel to reach the coils. Some technicians use a coil cleaning spray. They may use a soft brush to get rid of the debris.
As you can see, the basics of cleaning your furnace are simple. However, doing the job right requires an in-depth understanding of how your furnace works. This is why we always recommend that you have professionals inspect and clean your furnace annually.
Cleaning Your Heat Pump
You want to start by cleaning the indoor unit. For this, you will need a vacuum that has a dusting brush attachment. Shut off the power to your heat pump. Open up the cover to your heat pump and remove the filters. If you have not cleaned them for a while, they are going to be full of dust.
Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to clean the filters. Go over the fins inside the heat pump with the same vacuum attachment. Once you have removed the dust and debris, put the filters back in place, close the cover, and clean the outside of the unit with a damp cloth.
Checking Your Outdoor Heat Pump Unit
Before doing any work on the unit, make sure that you turn off the power to the unit. A shut-off box should be located on the exterior wall close to your heat pump. It might be a simple shut-off switch, or you might need to remove a fuse. If you cannot find the shut-off switch, go to your breaker box and turn off the main breaker. Try to activate the unit to ensure that the power is truly off.
Start by doing a visual inspection of your outdoor unit. See to it that there is no vegetation growing around the unit that would be blocking airflow. If anything is leaning against it, remove it. Once you have trimmed back any vegetation growing around your heat pump, you can take a few minutes to examine the outdoor unit.
Look for indications of nests, animal colonies, or any other pest infestation. Ants and cockroaches love to make outdoor heat pump units their home. Depending on the severity of the issue, you may be able to get rid of the pests yourself, or you may need to talk to an exterminator.
Check the unit for indications of corrosion. If you see severe corrosion, you want to talk to a heat pump professional. They can advise you on whether the corroded parts need to be replaced or if they can be repaired.
Remove the outer heat pump cover, and vacuum the fins with soft bristles using the brush attachment on your vacuum. A professional heat pump technician should be called to clean the fan section of the heat pump. This is because, when you disconnect the fan and try to lift it, it is easy to snag electrical wires and connections. This could damage your heat pump, so it’s best to leave the cleaning aspect to the professionals.
You can use a cleaning solution of soap and water to wipe down the exterior of your heat pump’s outdoor unit. Be careful because the fins are fragile and can easily bend. Once you wash the unit off and put everything in place, power it back on to ensure that it is working properly.
Trustworthy HVAC and Plumbing
Whether you are looking to improve the air coming out of your vents, the electrical wiring in your walls, or the plumbing in your home, we are the trustworthy team you should call. We specialize in heating and air conditioning maintenance, repair, and installation. We can fix your drains, faucets, water softeners, or sump pumps. You can trust our team to get the job done right. Contact Liberty Comfort Systems today to learn more about the services we offer.