An electric furnace is one of the easiest types of furnaces to maintain. They usually have few moving parts and a relatively simple design. There are no pilot lights or fuel lines to worry about. However, if you are the least bit unsure of your skills, a professional yearly inspection is recommended. If you decide to go ahead and perform your own electric furnace maintenance, there are some rules to keep in mind.
The first and most important thing to do is to shut off the power supply to the electric furnace before you begin to perform any work. This is very important and recommended before servicing any electrical appliance. You should also have your owner’s manual to guide you through any steps you do not understand and give you a pictorial view of what you are working on.
Change the Furnace Filters
Regular replacement of your furnace filter is one of the best steps to take in electric furnace maintenance. Dirt, dust and other debris can block a furnace filter quickly. A blocked air filter will cause your electric furnace to work harder, causing wear more quickly.
Dirt can also get into the moving parts, which may cause them to eventually fail.
The type of filter you use should have information on the replacement schedule. In homes with large numbers of pets or homes located in a sandy desert environment, filters should be replaced more frequently than recommended.
Clean Ductwork and Vents
A vacuum or compressed air can also be used to clean your ductwork and vents. Dirt in these areas can block the heated air entering each area of your home. Dirt in the return air ducts will only serve to block your furnace filter more quickly. If you are using compressed air, do not force the dirt back into your furnace. With the use of compressed air, a dust mask and safety goggles are recommended.
Check the Blower Motor
Maintenance on the blower motor itself will depend on the type of motor in your electric furnace. Much newer motors have sealed oil ports and do not need additional oil installed.
If you have a motor that requires oiling, refer to your owner’s manual for the location of the oil ports and the type of oil recommended.
Do not overfill. You should also check the belt on your motor for wear or fraying and replace this if needed. It is better to replace a slightly worn belt now than wait until it breaks at midnight when it is 10 degrees F outside. Again you can use a vacuum or compressed air to clean the blower motor and inside of the furnace in general.
If you have a humidifier attached to your electric furnace, this should be checked and cleaned as part of your routine service. If you have a condensate drain, check and clean this as well.
Older thermostats can also benefit from routine cleanings. Mercury contact switches can become dusty, leading to less accurate readings. It is also a good idea to check this style of the thermostat to be sure it is level. An out of level mercury thermostat will not operate properly.
Efficiency Tips for an Electric Furnace
Electric furnaces can become extremely energy inefficient and costly if they are not working to their potential. This article will take a look at 10 maintenance tips to conserve energy and make sure the unit is running efficiently.
1. Frayed or damaged wires?
Frayed or damaged wires are the easiest way to be wasting valuable electricity money on nothing. Damaged wires not only pose a safety and fire hazard, but they also make the electric furnace very inefficient.
2. Fuse burnt out?
Replacing fuses is part of regular maintenance for electric furnaces; replacement fuses can be found at almost any hardware store. Make sure you replace the fuse with the correct replacement; you will be surprised to learn how many different varieties there are when you go to the store.
3. Bring the replacement fuse into the store!
Replacing fuses is all part of regular maintenance. While working at a neighbourhood hardware store, I have had angry customers that cannot get the proper replacement because they did not bring in the original. By bringing in the original fuse, you will save on time and frustration with this simple electric furnace maintenance.
4. Did you check your thermostat recently?
Electric furnaces produce more or less heat depending on the attached thermostat reading; if the thermostat is not working properly, the house temperature will be considerably off.
5. How often do you replace filters?
Electric furnaces require the use of furnace filters, which should be replaced regularly. Furnace filters can be found at almost any home improvement or hardware store inexpensively. You can tell when the filter needs to be replaced just by looking at it.
6. Have you had an expert come in recently?
An important part of electric furnace maintenance is having an expert come in annually for routine maintenance and checks.
7. Checking the blower fan
Electric furnaces are typically used in smaller areas or apartments, which makes the efficiency of the blower fan very important. The blower fan allows for heat dispersion, but if it stops working, the unit will be wasting energy by not dispersing heat in the entire room.
8. Importance of amps (a heating mechanism)
The heating mechanism’s amps should be checked regularly to make sure the unit is working at maximum efficiency.
9. Check for anything out of the ordinary
Before each cool season, turn off the electric furnace and turn it back on and listen and look for anything that seems “off”. Any damaged parts of the entire unit or odd sounds should be cause for concern.
10. Have you read the manual?
There is little maintenance on electric furnaces besides checking the efficiency of the machine, but every unit is different. Read the manual that came with your furnace to see what the manufacturer recommends for optimal performance.
Always remember that an electric furnace is a high voltage device, and your personal safety is the most important part of the job you are performing. With simple maintenance, your electric furnace should provide you with clean heat and last for a long time.