4 Signs Your Furnace Requires Cleaning

Posted on: 9 November 2021

Your furnace will perform much better if it is maintained annually. Cleaning of the various furnace components is one of those necessary annual maintenance tasks. 

1. Foul Odors

For some, the first sign that a furnace needs to be cleaned is the smell. The odor of burning dust every time the furnace powers on is a common issue with dirty furnaces. You may also sometimes catch a whiff of mold or mildew if spores have begun to grow inside any part of the furnace or duct system. With gas and oil furnaces, dirt in the system can cause poor fuel burning, which means you may sometimes pick up the odor of oil or the sulfur-like smell of natural gas.

2. Dust Buildup

Dust can collect in nearly any part of the furnace. It may coat blower fans and motors, eventually inhibiting their operation due to friction. Dust collects in the filter and filter housing units, as well as on the burner or heating elements inside the furnace. Not only can dust impact operations, but it can also lead to reduced air quality throughout the home. Annual furnace maintenance that includes a thorough cleaning reduces the amount of dust in the system. 

3. Loss of Efficiency

Loss of efficiency leads to many negatives. The furnace won't heat the house as well, which can affect comfort. Further, it will take more power to generate the required heat, leading to increased energy usage and higher heating costs. Loss of efficiency also causes the furnace to work harder, an issue that may lead to increased mechanical wear and shorter furnace life. Cleaning out the unit once annually counteracts much of these efficiency issues so that your furnace will work well for a long time and with the least amount of energy possible. Lower energy usage is also a win for the environment. 

4. Weak Combustion

Oil and natural gas furnaces depend on efficient fuel combustion to work properly. If the burner plate and chamber are covered in dust, then combustion may not occur completely. Dust can also clog up fuel lines and nozzles, which can lead to a complete failure to heat. If you notice that the pilot light is burning any color other than white or blue, then dirt and dust in the fuel nozzle are the likely culprits. Cleaning the burner chamber and fuel system annually is a must-do maintenance task. 

Contact a furnace maintenance service to schedule an annual tune-up and cleaning.