For most equipment their largest foe is dirt. Especially for furnaces accumulated dirt can clog up, waste fuel and severely deplete the equipment’s efficiency. Dirt also targets the three major components of any HVAC system.
To make sure that your system is working up to par we will give you the general methods on how to clean, lubricate and adjust the belt of a furnace.
Cleaning a Furnace
- The furnace filter should be cleaned or replaced at the start of the heating season and once a month during the period of continuous use.
- In checking the filter you just need to pull it out and hold it up to the light. If the filter is clogged, replace it regardless of how long you have been using it.
- Cleaning the blower. This is one of the most critical steps especially when your equipment has a squirrel-cage fan because it has more tendencies to get dirt stuck. To clean it, you will have to remove the panel that covers the filter to gain access to the blower. You can gain access to the inside of the blower by sliding out the fan unit, which is held back by screws. Remember to mark the wire connections so you can reassemble the unit correctly later on.
- Using a toothbrush, clean every spaces and fan blades. Afterwards, use a vacuum cleaner hose to remove the remaining dirt and debris that got loosened by using the brush.
- Wipe the motor housing clean to prevent the buildup of heat in the motor. Make sure to vacuum the belts and pulleys.
Lubricating the Furnace Motor
Most furnace motors nowadays are sealed and permanently lubricated by the manufacturers and does not require much attention. However, now and then, you will notice that above the bearings near the motor shaft are ports that are covered oil which only means one thing; it has to be lubricated annually.
To do so, you have to apply two to three drops of ten-weight non-detergent motor oil to each port. Remember not to over lubricate.
You must also check if the blower shafts have oil ports, if it does, just follow the same procedure. This too should be done annually.
If instead of oil ports you find some grease cups on the blower, you will have to remove the screw caps that hold the cups and fill the cup with bearing lubricant. The bearing lubricant are available at automotive and hardware stores.
Replacing a Furnace Belt
After going through the process of cleaning the blower and lubricating motor, it is time to check the belt of the furnace. This belt is located between the blower and the motor. If the belt is work out or if it breaks it can be replaced with a new belt just by using some basic hand tools.
- Access the panel of the furnace by removing the screws that helps mount the panel to the unit. This can be done with a screwdriver. You can then take the panel off and set it aside.
- This time loosen the mounting bolts that secure the motor to the furnace with a socket set. You will have to push the motor towards the blower gently. You can then remove the damaged belt.
- Replace the blower belt. Mount it over the blower pulley and next over the motor pulley. You have to pull the motor with one hand and apply tension to the belt. Then tighten the two mounting bolts on the motor’s base.
- Make sure to check the tension on the belt by pushing the belt between the two pulleys. If the belt is loose or too tight you can loosen the motor mounting and readjust the tension before you tighten the bolts again. To test that you have the proper tension, the belt should deflect about half an inch if you apply pressure on it.
- Replace the access panel and tighten the mounting screws. Then turn on the breaker, and test the operation of the blower.