Here is a checklist of ideas:
» Clean or change furnace filters on a regular basis. Replace disposable filters and clean permanent filters using water or cleaning solutions. Your owner’s manual or a qualified heating contractor can suggest a regular maintenance schedule.
» Check the exhaust vent from the furnace. Clear obstructions such as leaves, clothing, or animal nests from the vent pipe or chimney. Keep roof exhaust vents clear of snow. If there is a faulty exhaust system (like a blocked flue), of if there are cracks and leaks in the pipes or improper adjustment of the burner, or if there is lower air pressure indoors than outside, the furnace can create serious indoor air pollution.
» A clear air intake is important too, since furnaces need fresh air to “breathe” and complete the fuel burning cycle. Again, check for debris, snow, or animal nests in intake pipes.
» If you have an older gas furnace, you may want to install a supplementary induced-draft fan that reduces the possibility of backdrafting. Some furnaces have automatic shutoff devices that turn off the furnace if it begins to backdraft.
» Check internal components such as the blower motor and vacuum any dirt. Check belts and pulleys for excessive wear. You should consult your owner’s manual for any suggested maintenance tips on internal working components.
» You may also want to check the pilot light to see if it is working and if it producing an even, blue flame. If the flame is uneven, it may be a sign of incomplete gas combustion, which can result in the creation of dangerous carbon monoxide gas.
» Ensure that your thermostat is operating correctly by raising or lowering the temperature settings to make sure the furnace cycles on and off.
» Install and maintain battery or hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Externally vented natural gas furnaces, when properly designed and installed, will operate safely for years. But if you detect a problem, use the most common solution – contact a qualified heating professional to check out your furnace.