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Three Repair Steps For An Unused Furnace

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A furnace that hasn't been used in at least a year will need servicing that goes above and beyond your typical maintenance. These additional inspection and residential heating repair steps will help get your system up and running safely while helping you avoid risks of damage or potential health hazards.

Inspect Ducts

Problems with your ducts won't always directly result in your furnace not working correctly, but they can allow for damage, wear, and tear over long periods of time. This is an important consideration when your system hasn't been used in a long while, so having your ducts inspected is a must.

Gaps in your ducts can lead to a loss in efficiency, but they can also allow dust into your system, which can harm more sensitive components in your system. For example, if the blower wheel becomes weighed down with dust, it will have a harder time turning, which can cause it to need to be replaced more quickly; in some cases, it may no longer work at all. Having your blower motor cleaned and maintained can help, but making sure your ducts are repaired and sealed will help address the source of the problem.

These gaps can also allow in moisture, which in turn can make it easier for mold to grow inside your ducts. If your ducts haven't been used in a while, this will give moisture and mold spores plenty of time to settle, which may require you to have your ducts cleaned as well as repaired.

Replace Flame Sensor

A furnace's flame sensor is a vital part of your furnace that is responsible for regulating the flow of gas to your furnace. If the sensor detects that the flame is on, the gas supply will open, allowing your furnace to run. If it doesn't detect a flame, it will shut off the gas to keep gas from building up. A dirty or faulty flame sensor may not properly register the flame, however, which means that your supply of gas will stay shut off even when the flame is fine.

A flame sensor can be cleaned in the event the problem is caused by a buildup of dirt, but if your current flame sensor has already been cleaned a few times before, it may be due for a replacement. Call a professional to have your flame sensor replaced if you notice any ignition problems.

Check Gas Supply

Before you turn on your furnace, it's a good idea to make sure its fuel supply is safe and stable.

For electric furnaces, check your fuses and your circuit breaker to make sure everything looks okay. Exposed wires or tripped breaker could be signs that you need electrical repairs done. Because furnaces can be shut off at both your circuit breaker panel at additional switches on the furnace unit itself, make sure to check that everything is switched on. You can also ask a technician to test your circuit to make sure it's safe.

For gas furnaces, make sure that any supply valves are opened completely; valves that are slightly closed allow an unstable supply, which can cause short cycling. A technician may also check your gas valve to make sure it isn't faulty, as well as your integrated furnace control, which controls functions like activating the blower, shutting off gas, and opening your gas valve. If these parts are faulty, your furnace will not work.

Quick Maintenance Steps

On top of these repairs, there are also a few things you can do or hire a professional to do that will help your system run more smoothly.

  • Make sure your furnace's exhaust pipe is clear. If there is any blockage, harmful fumes could come into your house.
  • Replace your air filter before you turn on your furnace to help avoid short cycling.
  • Run your furnace for about half an hour with your doors and windows open to help get rid of odors that come from burning dust.