Now that winter has ended and summer is around the corner, it’s a great time to clean the heating and cooling vents and the furnace in your home. Paying for these services can be a little expensive, but it is a rather simple process you can do yourself.
How to Clean Heating and Cooling Vents
Heating vents, whether on the floor or in the wall, always gather dust. This is true when they’re not in use during the summer. Cleaning out the heating vents before you use them can keep that dust from recirculating. You must turn off the circuit breaker to your furnace, so you can safely clean any heating or cooling vent in your home.
1. Unscrew the screws on the sides of the vent cover. Put them in a container to keep from loosing any. Lift out the cover and place it on a piece of newspaper or plastic to catch grime and dust. Examine the heating duct and remove any large debris. Use a dry rag to remove any larger cobwebs and clumps of dust.
2. Using your vacuum cleaner’s hose attachment, vacuum out the inside of the vent. Use your vacuum’s brush or crevice attachment on the vent’s corners and edges. Go over those areas several times to ensure it is clean. Vacuum only visible areas to avoid damaging wiring that may lie deeper down in the heating duct.
3. Useing soapy water wet a rag or sponge and wring it out. Wipe down the inside of the vent. Again, clean only the areas you can see. After cleaning the inside of the vent, wipe down the floor or dust the wall where the rim of the vent was touching.
4. Examine the grates of the cover for broken or rusty parts. On vent covers that have airflow adjustment, examine the adjustable fins too. Wipe down the grates, fins and rim of the cover with a cloth dampened in soapy water, remembering to avoid damaged areas. Use an old toothbrush and scrub any crevices that contain grimy remains.
5. Reinsert the vent cover, the base should sit down, in the heating vent, with the rim flush to the floor or wall. Reinsert and tighten all screws. Run your hand carefully along the vent cover’s rim to ensure that it’s set against the floor or wall and won’t catch on anyone’s clothing.
How To Clean a Furnace
Dirt can be a big problem for your furnace. It can waste fuel and drastically lower efficiency. Dirt affects the three components of a furnace, so cleaning is the most important part of maintenance. The three parts of the furnace that should be cleaned are the filter system, the blower, and the motor.
1. The furnace’s filter should be replaced once a month during periods of continuous use. To check the filter, take it out and hold it up to the light. If it looks clogged, replace it with a new filter of the same type and size, regardless of the length of time it has been used.
2. Clean blower assembly, belts and pulleys to blower, and motor housing. Cleaning the blower is essential if furnace has a squirrel-cage fan, because openings in this type of blower often become clogged. To clean blower, remove the panel that covers the filter or the panel on the front of the furnace. This panel may be slip-fit on hooks or held by a series of retaining screws. Access to the inside of blower is usually gained by sliding out the fan unit, which is held on a track by screws. If the power cord to the fan assembly is not long enough to permit the fan unit to slide all the way out, disconnect the cord. Mark the wire connections first so you’ll be able to reassemble the unit correctly. With a toothbrush, clean each fan blade and the spaces between the blades. Then, with a vacuum cleaner hose, remove all dirt and debris loosened by brushing. Vacuum the belts and pulleys. Wipe down the motor housing to prevent heat buildup in the motor.
3. Reassemble all parts of the blower, and connect the wires back to the motor if they were disconnected. Then place the blower back in the furnace and screw it back into place.
4. Finally reinsert the panel and screw it back into place.