inspector looks at a furnace

Furnace Cleaning in Omaha, Nebraska

Keeping warm in Omaha’s wintertime is a necessity, not a luxury. Your home needs an operational furnace in order to keep you and your family safe from the elements. As with most home systems and appliances, maintenance is required if you hope to keep your heating unit operating properly.

Furnace cleaning (ideally performed during the fall months) is an essential part of maintaining your furnace, but not everyone can clean a furnace without professional help. You don’t have to clean your furnace yourself in order to achieve the desired results. You can hire Caniglia Heating & Cooling for furnace cleaning service and a general furnace tune up.

Caniglia Heating and Cooling is your Omaha expert for residential heating service. Our professional HVAC technicians know what to look for when performing annual furnace cleaning or furnace maintenance so you don’t get surprised by a broken furnace.

Incidentally, if you are in the market for a new furnace, it may be helpful to know that a gas furnace may last up to 25 years, but the burner is likely to require regular maintenance and repair services during that time; whereas electric furnaces not only have longer life expectancy but also require less maintenance. Electric furnaces tend to be more expensive to operate, on a daily basis, due to the cost of electricity. However, the reduced cost of service, cleaning, and maintenance for electric furnaces may effectively offset their higher operating costs, over time.

What Do Furnace Cleaning Services Include?

First, we determine (or you’ll likely tell us) whether your furnace is electric or gas-powered. There are a few essential differences, but in general, we always make sure to follow four basic steps: clean out the combustion chamber; clear the blower compartment of debris; clean the furnace filter; and oil the motor bearings.

Incidentally, there are a few warning signs that should alert you to a larger problem, should you notice them: excessive soot; irregular flame (yellow rather than blue flames); and short cycling (if your furnace runs for a short amount of time before turning off suddenly). Any of the above problems signal a larger problem that may require repairs or a replacement furnace.

Below we’ll go into a bit more detail about special steps for cleaning each type of furnace.

Cleaning an Electric Furnace

When cleaning an electric furnace, you need all the required tools and equipment (which we’ll be sure to have, of course). Making sure the electricity to the furnace is turned off, we first remove the filter to clean, wiping down the outside and inside of the furnace. We will likely replace the filter, then lift the blower access panel door and vacuum the inside of the furnace. We’ll likely utilize some of the smaller attachments on our vacuum to reach some of the more tricky-to-reach crevices and corners, as well. We’ll remove any visible dirt, debris, or dust from inside the furnace during this time, as well, focusing around the blower wheel.

If there is any dirt that is difficult to remove through vacuuming, we’ll use a stiff toothbrush to scrub the dust off and clean any remaining dirt with a damp rag – making sure to avoid damaging or disturbing any wires while vacuuming. While inspecting the inside of the furnace, we inspect the wires and belts, checking wires around the blower wheel and coils. We check the belt that operates the blower to make sure it is in good working condition. We also clean all heat registers, being very careful not to damage the duct. We also carefully vacuum inside the duct.

When finished, we place grates, panels, and registers back into place, double-checking panels to make sure they are clean, as well.

Cleaning a Gas (or Oil) Furnace

To clean a gas furnace, we first turn off the power and gas to the furnace. Of course, if the furnace had been in use before we started, we give it some time to cool off before embarking on any cleaning or repairs.

When we’re ready to get started, we remove the furnace access door by lifting it up and out, loosen any screws, and remove the burner cover, if applicable. Using a vacuum, we remove any dust from the burners and furnace base, making sure to lift the blower door to vacuum the combustion chamber compartment, as well. While vacuuming, we keep an eye out for signs of soot, which indicates poor combustion and a need for further maintenance.

We then remove and carefully clean the blower. We also clean the flame sensor, inspect the drive belt, and replace the air filter. While inspecting the flue pipe, we check for holes in the exhaust flue that could leak carbon monoxide, especially where the pipe meets the furnace. While small holes can be patched with foil tape, corroded flues must be replaced. We’ll also adjust the flue pipe’s barometric damper, which moderates the chimney draw.

It’s likely that both the oil filter and the air filter will need to be replaced (if the furnace is an oil-powered system. If replacing the oil filter, we first close the oil valve, then remove the old filter and replace it, setting aside the dirty filter to be disposed of according to local hazardous-waste regulations.)

Additionally, air filters should be changed at least once a year, so if it’s time, change the air filter. Be sure to check the blower belt for wear and tension. A loose belt can slow the blower, compromising efficiency. If the belt deflects more than ¾ inch when pressed firmly, it can be adjusted by sliding the motor backward slightly.

When finished, we close up the furnace and activate the system again, checking to make sure the burner flames are even and blue. (If necessary, we replace the oil nozzle, and we check the flame color and shape at the igniter.) We also adjust the dampers, taking seasonal settings into account.

Why Do Furnaces Need to Be Cleaned?

Your furnace collects dust, dirt, and debris like nothing else in your home. This can lead to several different types of problems for your family, your home, and your furnace. Dirt kills the efficiency of your furnace by blocking up the filter, blower, and blower motor – the three basic components of your furnace’s air moving system. This is going to waste fuel and make your heating costs skyrocket.

Also, if you’re not keeping the furnace clean, harmful particles from that debris find their way into the air of your home and greatly decrease your indoor air quality. This can lead to health problems for you and your family.

More Reasons a Clean Furnace Is So Important

Some people don’t think that cleaning their furnace is that big of a deal. It will still work, right? Even if it’s dirty? Unfortunately, your furnace does need to be cleaned regularly for optimal performance. A dirty furnace is not only bad for your health, but it can cause a fire or cause your furnace to break down.

If you want to increase the life of your furnace, a good cleaning and tune-up are pivotal. Here are some more reasons why you should make cleaning your furnace a priority:

  • Prevention of Repairs or Breakdown of Your Furnace: Having your furnace cleaned and inspected can allow a furnace inspector to identify any areas of weakness or problems with your furnace. This can prevent the additional costs of repairs down the line.
  • Reduced Energy Costs: A clean and functional furnace can mean higher performance, which reduces energy bills. When your system’s efficiency is at its peak, you know that you are wasting less energy, which is also better for the environment.
  • Keep Your Family Safe: An unclean or uninspected furnace could be a danger to you and your family. A damaged furnace could leak carbon monoxide gas into your home, which is an extremely dangerous substance. Without regular inspections, how will you know if your furnace is a hazard? Poor air quality can also be bad for your family’s health. Your furnace could be operating at peak condition with a cleaning and inspection from Caniglia Heating & Cooling.
  • Lengthens the Life of Your Furnace: In addition to reducing health problems and increasing energy efficiency, cleaning your furnace regularly can make it last longer. A furnace with regular maintenance can last for decades. One without maintenance could die unexpectedly, and repair costs could be greater than the cost of a new furnace.

How Often Should You Have Your Furnace Cleaned?

In general, it is recommended that you have your furnace inspected and cleaned by a professional each year. In addition to keeping the furnace clean, having it inspected annually will catch any small issues that can be easily repaired before they become major problems requiring extensive repair or even replacement of your furnace.

Your furnace’s filter, however, should be replaced at the beginning of every heating season and once per month during times your furnace is being regularly used. Check your filter by removing it and holding it to the light – if it looks clogged, replace it regardless of how long it has been used.

Furnace Cleaning vs. Duct Cleaning

Most American homes are heated by forced-air furnaces that utilize a duct system to disperse heat throughout the house. Duct cleaning includes accessing the ducts and inspecting for obstructions, pests, or mold. Then the technician will determine the best course for cleaning the duct. Duct cleaning generally needs to take place only once every several years – though that may increase to every two years, if you have pets or if there is a smoker in the house. You’ll also want to make sure there is no dampness in the air ducts that could lead to mold growth.

If you or your maintenance service provider do suspect mold growth, the EPA recommends having your service provider to show you any mold that exists. However, you should be aware that only an expert in mold diagnosis and cleanup can determine whether something is mold or not, so you may need to send a sample to a lab that can test it and positively determine it is, in fact, mold (since there are many mold look-alikes). If you have insulated air ducts and it is found that there is, in fact, mold growing in your ducts, you may need to get them replaced. Furthermore, if the conditions causing the mold growth are not corrected, mold will likely recur. Therefore, the EPA recommends getting your home inspected by a professional.

To prevent dust buildup in your ductwork, it is recommended that you install filters over each of your hot air supply registers, and check them after a few weeks to see what they are picking up. You may also consider sealing any gaps between wall openings and the edges of air ducts with a general purpose caulk. Lastly, bring professionals like us at Caniglia Heating & Cooling in to clean your furnace, during which we will clean the furnace heat exchanger. If it is not very dirty, you likely don’t have anything to worry about, with regard to excessive dust or dirt in your air ducts.

Furnace cleaning, or furnace maintenance, should happen yearly. It includes inspecting the unit, testing for Carbon Monoxide leaks, testing the thermostat, inspecting the electrical components, inspecting and cleaning the heat exchanger and combustion chamber, testing the gas pressure (if applicable), measuring for airflow, and cleaning and testing the blower motor.

Signs You Need Furnace Cleaning and Maintenance

  • The unit is switching on and off too often
  • Your energy bills are higher than usual
  • Your home has temperature inconsistencies between rooms
  • The unit doesn’t respond to thermostat adjustment
  • There is an excess of dust in your home
  • The unit is operating more loudly than usual
  • Your furnace flame is not blue
  • You can’t remember the last time your unit was cleaned

Furnace and Duct-Cleaning Service You Can Count On in Omaha, Nebraska. Call Now!

Want to avoid major repairs on your furnace, mold growth, or health conditions caused by dirty air ducts? Your furnace and air ducts require cleaning, and we want to be your service provider for furnace repair, inspection, and maintenance. Your home’s heating system won’t clean and repair itself. Get help from professionals you can rely on.

A service technician at Caniglia Heating & Cooling is ready to help you get your furnace in perfect condition for keeping you warm this winter. We are passionate about customer service and satisfaction. Call us today to schedule furnace cleaning, inspection, or tune-up service. Dial 402-204-0813 or contact us today for the best quality furnace maintenance services in Omaha.