After installing a new gas furnace in your home, you want to do everything you can to keep it in good condition. However, with the winter season cooling your local climate, you must use your furnace several hours a day to keep your home comfortable. During extended periods of use, it can be hard to find time to maintain your furnace. This could create an opportunity for your furnace to fall into disrepair and leak toxic fumes into your home. Follow these tips to keep your new furnace from polluting your indoor air:
Prevent Airflow Restrictions
When your furnace doesn't receive enough airflow, it won't be able to efficiently ignite the gas supply delivered to your burner assembly. As a result, a greater amount of exhaust fumes will be created by your burners. Although the majority of these exhaust fumes will be siphoned through your heat exchanger and out of your home, a small amount can manage to escape your furnace and ventilate into your home. Additionally, airflow restrictions will place unnecessary wear on internal components of your furnace such as your heat exchanger.
Here are the two primary causes of airflow restriction in your HVAC system and how to prevent them:
Restriction #1: Dirty Air Filter
Before entering the furnace, your indoor air will be cleaned by your filter. After months of excessive use, your air filter will become coated with a thick layer of airborne debris. As debris becomes trapped in your filter, the amount of air that can pass through your filter will be reduced.
You can replace a conventional air filter by shutting off your furnace and opening the door on your blower housing. Pull the dirty filter out from the side of the housing connected to your return duct. Wipe away any debris around the filter area and slide in a compatible replacement filter to finish the job.
Restriction #2: Dirty Blower Motor
As debris manages to slip through unsealed gaps in your blower housing and the pores of your filter, it will settle in your blower motor—specifically, in your fan wheel. Your fan wheel has several blades that pull air through your furnace as they rotate. However, when your blades are covered in a thick layer of debris, the airflow through your fan wheel will become severely restricted.
Unfortunately, without in-depth knowledge of your specific blower assembly, you won't be able to clean your fan wheel. For this reason, it's best to leave the task of cleaning your blower motor and fan wheel to your HVAC technician. Arranging for an annual blower cleaning will prevent your fan wheel from restricting airflow.
Keep Your Burner Tubes Clean
Soot is a highly carcinogenic particulate that's also a byproduct of gas combustion. When gas is ignited inside your furnace's combustion chamber, soot will collect on the components closest to your burners. The majority of the soot produced by your burners will settle inside your burner tubes, where it will pollute the air blown through your air ducts. Additionally, when enough soot builds up in your burner tubes, it will create an airflow restriction.
Luckily, you can clean the soot out of your burner tubes with just a metal brush, screwdriver, ratchet, socket set and respirator. Shut off the fuel and power supply to your furnace and open the door to your combustion chamber. Once your furnace is cool, use your screwdriver or ratchet and socket set to remove the fasteners securing your burner tubes. Since each furnace model is different, you'll need to refer to your owner's manual to determine the exact steps that must be followed to remove your tubes.
Additionally, pay attention to the orientation of your tubes—if your tubes aren't installed in their original position, they can direct air away from your burners and allow unspent gas to ventilate into your home.
Once your burners are removed from your combustion chamber, don your respirator and scrub the interior sections of your tubes with your metal brush. To complete your cleaning quickly, rotate your tubes while you scrub. Once the soot is removed from your burners, vacuum or sweep it up immediately to prevent it from further polluting your indoor air.
By performing these maintenance tasks, you can keep your new furnace from producing and releasing harmful fumes into your home. In addition to maintaining your indoor air quality, you'll also keep your new furnace operating efficiently by regularly replacing your filter, having your blower motor cleaned, and removing soot from your burner tubes. However, if you're unable to complete these jobs by yourself, or if you run into a problem you're not capable of fixing, then visit your HVAC technician's website, such as http://robertbair.com.