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Furnace Maintenance: A Guide for 2024

Having a home furnace can make those cold winter nights much more enjoyable, we’d say even relaxing. Most homeowners, however, don’t really know how a furnace works and can find themselves in need of an untimely heating repair when they find themselves with a broken furnace. Worried that might happen to you?

While there are a variety of furnace types, understanding the basic mechanisms of a furnace helps you to maintain it properly and address or repair any issues that may surface. In this guide you’ll learn how a home furnace works alongside some valuable tips for maintaining your heating system.

Parts of a Home Furnace 

There are a variety of parts and mechanisms that make up your home furnace, and here we’ll describe a bit about each one so that its purpose can be understood.

Air Filter

This is the first place that the air will go; this piece of the furnace will remove any particles or debris from the air, making the quality better before putting it through the heating process. This piece is vital for air quality and we’ll look at how to maintain it in a bit.

Return Ducts

This part of the furnace will take the cool air from your home and put it back into the process for heating in the furnace.


The thermostat helps to control the temperature as you wish; it will communicate with the igniter to let your furnace know when it should turn on and increase or decrease the size of the flame according to temperature.

Hot Surface Ignitor 

The hot surface ignitor is the part of your furnace that will ignite the burners when the temperature has dropped below the setting on the thermostat.


The burners are the tubes where gas is used to heat up flames and provide this heat to the heat exchanger and the air.

Heat Exchanger​

This part of a furnace is one of the most important and includes the use of coils; this is how the heat will be taken from the burners and provided to the air, which is then distributed to the ductwork.


This piece will push out the air from the heat exchanger and disperse it with help from the ductwork/supply plenum. This is how the heated air will be distributed throughout your home.


This part of your furnace will expel the unwanted exhaust from the heating process, including carbon monoxide. 

Through all of these components, the heating process continues until the temperature has reached the thermostat setting, and will restart once it has dropped below a suitable temperature and heating is necessary once more.

Key Elements of Furnace Maintenance

As we can see, all of these parts play a role in ensuring that your furnace functions smoothly. Here we’ll talk about some tips that can help you to avoid any problems and keep your furnace as healthy as can be. 

1. Change the Air Filer

The air filter plays a vital role in ensuring the air that is circulation throughout your home is free and clear of particles, some of which include dust and dust mites, pet dander, bacteria, and more.

Basic air filters will do a pretty good job at eliminating these particles from your air; a more expensive or advanced filter will do an even better job, which is advisable for those who suffer from respiratory issues or allergies.

If your filter becomes too congested with particles, it can become ineffective in filtering out these elements. A standard air filter should be changed every one to three months, with higher-end filters lasting a bit longer. This also depends on your furnace model and use, so you can consult with a heating technician for the most advisable information based on what’s in your home.

2. Clean Ductwork and Vents 

As the ductwork is the element that gets your air dispersed to your home, making sure that it is free from build-up or blockage is vital. Even if your air filter is working properly, if you have a lot of dust, dirt, etc., it can affect the quality of your air by distributing outside particles that weren’t able to be filtered after heating. Furthermore, dirt or build-up from vents can affect the efficiency of the overall heating unit, and if it becomes pushed down into the ductwork, you’ll see reduced air flow from your furnace. Cleaning the ductwork and outside vents is an easy way to make sure your heating unit is working properly.

3. Check the Burners 

The burners are the primary source of heat, so you’ll need to make sure they’re functioning properly in order to get your air heated.

4. Listen to the Blower Motor

The blower motor plays a key role in pushing the hot air into the ductwork from the heat exchanger, and it’s near the air filter. Since there are a lot of moving parts, it’s important that it remains lubricated and inspected so that it doesn’t begin to give out. You’ll want to make sure that there aren’t any unpleasant or alarming sounds, such as high-pitched whistling or grinding, as these sounds can indicate you are in need of a furnace repair. If a heating technician isn’t consulted, you could be permanently damaging or eating away at the equipment, which will make the problem worse in the long run.

5. Clear the Exhaust Flue 

Since gas is used in the heating process, it’s important that the fumes can escape properly so that they don’t impose any inconveniences or serious health effects. If you feel that you have some blockage or issues with expelling these fumes, which can include carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, contact a heating technician immediately.

Experience the Benefits of a Well-Functioning Furnace

Having a home surface transforms cold winter nights into cozy, enjoyable moments. Yet, many however lack knowlege about furnace operation, potentially leaving them in need of untimely heating repairs when their furnace breaks down.

Understanding the basics of furnace functionality empowers you to maintain and troubleshoot your heating system effectively. In this guide, you’ll discover how a home furnace works and gain invaluable tips for keeping yoru heating system in top shape.

Happy Furnace, Happy Family

When you know the basic inner workings of your furnace and how to maintain it, you keep your family and your home warm and happy in the winter. If you have any doubts or concerns about your furnace, or think you may need a furnace repair, don’t wait until winter, and don’t start a new DIY project. Reach out to the furnace experts at New West Plumbing so that they can take care of it as quickly and safely as possible.