El Niño's Unexpected Southern Cold Snaps: Clean Out Your Gas Furnace Now

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If you live in the southern portion of the United States, you may expect to experience mild winter weather this year. But El Niño is expected to change the weather patterns in the United States. Northern states may experience warmer winter weather, while southern states may experience colder, wetter conditions. If you haven't prepared your gas furnace lately, you may want to do so now. El Niño can produce unexpected cold snaps in your area. You can protect your family and home by cleaning out your furnace's air handler before El Niño arrives.

Why Clean Out Your Furnace?

Gas furnaces can build up with dust over time. If you store your furnace in a basement or detached room, such as the garage, spiders can crawl into the furnace's air handler and spin cobwebs. The heated air produced by the furnace's blower motor and fan can pick up particles of dust and cobwebs and transport them to the appliance's vent pipe. 

A blocked vent pipe can't release the harmful fumes that build up inside the furnace. Instead, the fumes redirect to the rooms of your home through the furnace's air vents. Carbon monoxide can be deadly to humans and pets, because you can't taste, smell, see, or hear it coming. However, your family and pets may experience unexplained illnesses, such as headaches and fatigue, if you're exposed to carbon monoxide.

In addition, a blocked furnace can put out cold air instead of warm air. If the temperatures decrease significantly in the home, the furnace may work harder to remove it. As a result, the blower motor and fan can give out. You'll need to call in a heating repair company to fix the furnace. But without the right tips, you can prevent the dangerous issues above.

How Do You Clean Out Your Furnace?

You'll need several things to clean out the air handler: a small handheld broom, vacuum, bucket filled with hot, soapy water, and two rags. Once you have the items previously listed, follow the steps below:

  1. Turn off the furnace's power supply at the control switch and gas valve.
  2. Remove the paneling over the back or side of the furnace to access the inside of it.
  3. Use your broom to sweep out dust and dirt. Avoid placing the broom near any small contacts, such as wiring and valves, because you can break the pieces very easily.
  4. Turn the vacuum on low speed, then use the hose attachment to suction out any cobwebs you see. 
  5. Wet a rag, then squeeze the excess water from it. Wipe down the inside and outside of the air handler. Dry the water with the clean rag.
  6. Give the air handler 30 minutes to dry, then replace the paneling and return power to the appliance.

Once the blower motor and fan turn on, the parts will push clean air through the furnace and vent pipe to clean out any dust and cobwebs you couldn't remove. Your furnace is now ready for El Niño's cold snaps.

For more tips on how to prepare for your gas furnace for El Niño, contact a heating repair company {like Lowry Services: Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling}.