Now that winter is in full swing, are you getting the most effective results from your furnace? If not, then it might be time to get some routine maintenance done on it to help it perform better. While most of the more important tasks should be performed by a licensed and qualified repair technician, there are some things that you can do yourself to help things run better between professional services. One of those things is to clean your heat exchanger tube. Let’s take a quick look at how you can do this with these simple tips.
Never under any circumstance should you access the interior components of your furnace with the power or gas still active. If you are unsure how to turn off the power or gas to your furnace or are not comfortable doing so the first time call a professional and let them show you how to do it.
Once you have turned off the power and/or gas use a screwdriver or the thumb screws to remove the bolts that are holding the access panel in place. Once you are inside, use a bright light and a cell phone to take a picture of the heat exchanger and how it is sitting in the compartment. You should also use tape to label where the connections are made to the pipes that connect to the heat exchanger.
Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust, dirt, cobwebs, and other debris that may have accumulated on the unit. Then use a wet cloth with a very mild detergent to carefully wipe down the pipes and hoses that lead to the heat exchanger. This will make taking the exchanger out in a few minutes easier since the exterior of the unit will be clean and easier to handle. It also helps to prevent any of this debris, dust, or dirt from getting all over your carpet.
Using a pipe brush and a recommended diluted cleaner, make sure that you scrub out the inside and all exterior surfaces of the exchanger until everything is smooth and shiny. There may be a lot of sediment built up inside the tubes so you may need to change out your cleaning solution a few times depending on how long it has been, if ever, since the unit was last cleaned. Once you have it cleaned up inside and out make sure to flush it clean with fresh water till the water runs clear.
Here you will need a power washer. This will help you to get all of the build-up and grime out of the interior of the tubes. This simple procedure is easy to do:
Use the picture that you took and the notes you make on the pipe connections earlier to re-mount and re-connect the exchanger to your furnace. Replace all of the bolts, screws and other fasteners in the same way that you removed them and then replace the access panel.
While you are cleaning your unit’s heat exchanger take a moment to inspect the wiring harness, make sure the plugs are in good shape, change the filter, clean out the air intake and output vents throughout the house, and pour a recommended cleaner through the condenser drain pipe to clear any bacteria build up.
Once you are all done, its time to turn the power and or gas back on and relight the pilot light according to the manufacturer’s instructions if applicable.
Now that you have cleaned the heat exchanger inside and out and performed some basic maintenance on your furnace, you should be getting much better performance from it, and your home should be more comfortable than before. If not, then it may be time for a professional inspection and repair as something may not be working properly with your furnace. Call a licensed and experienced professional at AirOne Heating and Air Conditioning to get your furnace back in working order and enjoy reliable and cost-efficient comfort for you and your family all season long.