Debunking Common Furnace Maintenance Beliefs


When it comes to caring for your furnace, you may have heard some questionable advice over the years. From myths about duct cleaning to misconceptions around filter changes, there are plenty of furnace maintenance beliefs that need some debunking. Read on as we separate fact from fiction and help set the record straight on Portland furnace maintenance.

Myth 1: Only Professionals Should Service Your Furnace

While it’s often best to let a professional technician handle major furnace repairs and maintenance, there are some basic upkeep tasks you can easily take care of yourself. Checking and changing air filters, vacuuming furnace vents, and inspecting the thermostat wires for damage are just a few furnace maintenance tasks you likely can handle without professional help. As long as you feel comfortable and follow all safety precautions, there’s no need to pay for a costly service call for minor upkeep.

Myth 2: The Furnace Needs Cleaning Every Year

An annual comprehensive cleaning sounds prudent, but for most furnaces, it’s overkill. Unless you have pets, allergies, or your HVAC professional recommends it, these intensive cleanings aren’t necessary year after year. Instead, you can keep your system clean with regular air filter changes and periodic vent vacuuming. Then, have a technician perform a tune-up every 2 to 3 years to keep your furnace running efficiently.

Myth 3: Ducts Always Need Regular Cleaning

Overzealous duct cleaning services would have you believe your ductwork needs deep cleaning every year or two. But if your ducts are in good shape, haven’t been contaminated, and have proper filters installed, these regular cleanings are excessive. Most homeowners only need ducts professionally cleaned once every 3 to 5 years. Otherwise, a simple vacuuming when you change filters or notice debris is sufficient.

Myth 4: Vent Cleaning Prevents Carbon Monoxide

While it’s smart to vacuum furnace vents when visibly dirty, regular vent cleaning doesn’t prevent carbon monoxide. This dangerous gas comes from improper combustion, not dirty vents. What does help protec you against carbon monoxide is installing a detector. These affordable alarms will let you know if levels rise, allowing you to address furnace issues before they become dangerous. Proper venting maintenance is still wise, but not the solution to carbon monoxide concerns.

Myth 5: Replacing Filters Isn’t Important

One of the biggest furnace myths out there is that air filters don’t require much attention. But regularly replacing these filters is crucial for keeping your family healthy. Dirty, clogged filters make your system work harder, reduce efficiency, and most alarmingly, circulate dust and other allergens back into the air you breathe. To prevent problems, be diligent about checking and replacing filters per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Myth 6: Neglect Routine Furnace Inspections

It’s easy to take your heating and cooling system for granted, especially when it’s running smoothly. But skipping regular furnace inspections can lead to preventable, costly breakdowns down the road. Minor issues left unaddressed can worsen over time, potentially leaving you without heat mid-winter. To avoid furnace failures or unsafe conditions, make sure you tune up your unit every year. Qualified HVAC technicians will thoroughly examine components, check fuel lines, test combustion, clean parts and make any necessary repairs. 

Maintaining your home furnace doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. By understanding common misconceptions around ducts, vents and filters, skipping unnecessary annual cleanings, investing in routine inspections and addressing unusual smells promptly, you can maximize furnace lifespan while saving money. Keep these furnace truths in mind for comfortable, efficient and safe heating all winter long.

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