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Gas Furnace Cleaning: Do You Need to Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?

At LG Home Comfort, we make your comfort our top priority.
October 30, 2022

As the cold weather sets in, there’s nothing more delightful than coming home to a cozy, warm house. Having a furnace or effective heating system to kaeep your home toasty all winter is a treat for many. However, it’s essential to ensure adequate furnace cleaning and maintenance to ensure optimal performance and safety.

One of the essential maintenance tasks for a gas furnace is cleaning it regularly. Gas furnace and duct cleaning can remove years of built-up dirt, dust, and allergens from your home, leaving you with a cleaner air filter to breathe and a more efficient heat, ventilation, and air conditioning system.

With that said, the questions for many homeowners remain. What’s the best way to do furnace cleaning? Should you do it yourself or seek professional assistance? Keep reading to find out.

How Often Should You Clean Your Furnace?

In general, most furnaces only require a thorough cleaning once a year. However, you may need to do a more frequent cleaning if you have pets or if anyone in your household suffers from allergies. Cleaning your furnace regularly will help maintain your HVAC system’s efficiency and prevent dust and dirt from being distributed throughout your home.

In line with this, if you’re wondering how often you should clean your furnace filter, the answer will be at least every 90 days. The role of the filter is to collect airborne dust, hair, and other small particles, so they don’t harm your furnace’s components.

How Often Should A Furnace Inspection Be Performed?

Homeowners should schedule a regular furnace cleaning and tune-up to keep the unit running smoothly. The question of “how often should you clean your furnace filter?” is answered by experts with a recommendation of getting a furnace inspection once a year.

During an inspection, technicians will conduct a furnace check-up to determine potential problems. This can help prevent major issues and save you money in the long run. Aside from extending the life of your furnace, regular inspections can also improve your family’s health.

Air Conditioning and Heating System: What Components Should Be Cleaned?

Furnace Air Filtration

A dirty furnace oil filter can reduce airflow, causing your furnace to work harder and potentially overheat. It can also lead to unhealthy indoor air quality. It’s best to clean these once a month or replace them every six months.

Blower

The blower is another crucial component of your furnace that needs regular cleaning. Over time, dust and dirt can gather on the blades, causing the blower to work less effectively and strain the motor.

Burners

The burners are where the heat is produced in your furnace. Accumulated dirt and debris can cause the flame to become unstable, leading to a fire.

Flame Sensors

Finally, don’t forget about the flame sensors. These sensors tell the furnace when to turn on and off based on whether a flame is present. If they get dirty, they can malfunction and result in your furnace turning on and off excessively or even failing to turn on.

How Do You Clean a Gas Furnace?

A gas furnace requires regular maintenance to ensure it runs smoothly. Below, we’ll show steps to clean a gas furnace to stay in top condition and provide your family warmth and comfort all winter.

Step #1: Turn off the power and gas

Before furnace cleaning, you’ll need to ensure that all electrical power and gas are turned off. This is important for your safety as well as the longevity of your furnace.

Step #2: Do surface and dryer vent cleaning

Once the power and gas are turned off, you can start cleaning the surface of the furnace. You can use a soft cloth or brush to clean any dirt or debris accumulated on the unit’s interior and exterior.

Step #3: Remove the blower

The blower is located inside the furnace and is responsible for circulating air throughout the unit. To clean it, you’ll need to remove it from the furnace. Be careful when removing the blower, so you don’t damage any wiring or other components inside the furnace.

Step #4: Carefully clean the blower

Once the blower is removed, you can start cleaning it with a soft cloth or brush. Pay special attention to any areas where there is dirt or debris build-up, as this can cause problems with the operation of your furnace.

Step #5: Clean the pilot or hot surface igniter

The pilot or hot surface igniter is responsible for igniting the gas in your furnace. Keeping this area clean is essential so your furnace will operate properly. Simply use a soft cloth or brush to clean away any dirt or debris built up on the pilot or hot surface igniter.

Step #6: Clean the flame sensor

The flame sensor is responsible for detecting whether or not there is a flame present in your furnace. If this sensor becomes dirty, it can cause problems with the operation of your furnace. Take a soft cloth or brush to clean away any dirt or debris collected on the flame sensor.

Step #7: Inspect the drive belt

The drive belt helps spin the blower wheel, which circulates air through the furnace chamber and into your home via ductwork. Inspect the drive belt for cracks or fraying and replace it if necessary.

Step #8: Lubricate 

Apply oil to the moving parts of your furnace once a year for lubrication. This will help to keep them running smoothly and prevent wear and tear. Be careful to avoid over-lubricating, as this can cause problems.

Step # 9: Replace the air filter

A replacement with a minimum of every three months, preferably more often, is needed if you have pets or allergies. A dirty air filter can not only reduce the efficiency of your furnace but can also be a fire hazard.

Step #10: Activate the burners

Let the burners do their work and let them run for a few minutes every month, even if you’re not using the furnace. This will help prevent corrosion.

Step #11: Adjust dampers

Adjust the dampers so they’re partially open when the furnace is not in use. This will help circulate air and minimize moisture build-up, contributing to mold and mildew development.

Furnace and Duct Cleaning: DIY or Hire A Professional?

Are you considering doing furnace duct cleaning on your own or hiring a reliable company to do it for you? Here’s a comparison of each approach so you can make the most informed choice

Expenses

Professional services can vary in price, but typically they will be more expensive than doing it yourself. However, professionals have the experience and knowledge to do the job quickly and accurately, which could save you the cost of furnace maintenance. In contrast, you may end up hurting your wallet if you don’t have the skills necessary to clean a furnace.

Efficiency

Cleaning your gas furnace requires a lot of knowledge, such as learning about the different parts of the furnace and how they work together. Professionals have the training and expertise necessary to do the job quickly. In addition, they also have the proper equipment to deliver excellent service.

Safety

Gas furnaces can be dangerous if not cleaned properly, as they can release poisonous gas that can be harmful if it accumulates in your home. If you are not knowledgeable about how to safely clean a gas furnace, it is best to leave it to a professional with experience in what they are doing.

Time

DIY means you’ll be responsible for the entire process, so you should block off time in your schedule. This may require multiple trips to the store, breaks, and schedule adjustments. However, hiring a professional can give you a fantastic service and save you much time without hassle.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the decision on whether to hire a professional or do it yourself depends on your personal preferences and situation. If you have the patience and time to properly clean your new or existing furnace, doing it yourself may be the way to go.

On the other hand, hiring a professional for gas furnace servicing may be the better option if you need more time or more confidence in correctly cleaning your furnace. Whichever route you take, ensure that you keep up with regular gas furnace maintenance to ensure optimal performance and safety all winter.