Should I Take a Chance with DIY Furnace Maintenance?

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Furnace maintenance entails different tasks and steps, many of which you should not take a chance with. There are some things you can DIY. However, accessing and working with components inside the unit can be dangerous and risks causing serious damage. You should always trust a residential maintenance professional to service your heating system.

We’ll look at some steps you can take. More importantly, we will also highlight the risks of DIY furnace maintenance. 

Furnace Maintenance Steps You Can DIY

Going beyond the following tasks is generally not worth the risks. However, you can safely:

  • Change the Air Filter: A dirty filter restricts airflow and can strain your furnace. It is easily changed by sliding the filter out of its housing and installing a new one.
  • Check the Burner Flame: Look in the window or port to see if the burner flame is blue and steady. If it’s yellow and flickering, call a professional for help.
  • Replace the Thermostat Batteries: If the heating settings aren’t working and the screen isn’t lit, change the batteries in the thermostat and see if it is working again.
  • Clean the Flame Sensor: If comfortable doing so, slide the sensor out of its bracket and wipe dirt or soot away with an emory cloth; then carefully slide it back into the bracket.
  • Seal Small Air Duct Leaks: Small leaks can be sealed with aluminum foil tape or mastic. If these don’t work or the leak is too large, call an HVAC professional for help.

Some homeowners are comfortable with cleaning the inside of the furnace. This can be done with a soft-bristle brush, compressed air, or a vacuum with a hose attachment. You may even be able to clean the drainage tube. However, these are tasks that are usually best left to a professional. See some of our furnace maintenance tips for more advice on recommended steps and what to look for.

Why You Shouldn’t Risk DIY Furnace Maintenance

There are many reasons to avoid complex maintenance tasks. Aside from those we already mentioned, we strongly discourage going any further due to:

  • Fire Hazards: A furnace is a complex system. Any mistake when working with a burner, ignitor, gas connection, or electrical component can result in a fire or explosion. If you smell gas, don’t check the furnace yourself; evacuate your home and call for help. Only a trained and licensed professional can safely and effectively maintain and repair delicate parts and components.
  • Carbon Monoxide Exposure: If your furnace malfunctions,  it can release high amounts of carbon monoxide (CO), especially if there’s a heat exchanger or flue vent problem. This colorless, odorless gas can cause illness in low concentrations and can quickly kill in high concentrations. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, hire a professional for furnace maintenance; they can use equipment to detect CO and identify issues that may cause a leak.
  • Equipment Damage: Your furnace might look like a strong, sturdy appliance. However, it has been placed, connected, and calibrated by a professional who knows the proper specifications. The unit also contains some highly sensitive components that must work together in harmony. One small improper tweak or adjustment can cause your furnace to malfunction immediately or down the road.
  • Reduced Home Market Value: If your furnace isn’t repaired, maintained, and inspected by a professional, a potential homebuyer may be wary of considering your home. Buyers usually have properties inspected by professionals before they commit to a sale. Therefore, DIY furnace maintenance can lead to a reduction in the sale price and difficulty selling your property.
  • Issues with Your Home Insurance Policy: Homeowner’s insurance can cover the costs of unexpected damage. However, it provides various guidelines you must follow. If you fail to have your furnace professionally maintained and inspected, a claim related to damage caused by DIY mistakes can be denied. The insurer may also revoke your coverage.
  • You May Void the Furnace Warranty: Most furnace manufacturer warranties require preventative maintenance by a professional. Performing tasks that require professional expertise can void the warranty. That means paying for any repairs caused by unintentional mistakes or using improper tools or techniques.

Schedule Furnace Maintenance in Tacoma, WA

At Kliemann Brothers, we have trained, experienced, and NATE-certified professionals who provide top-notch residential furnace maintenance. Professional maintenance can lower your energy bills, prevent expensive repairs, and increase the lifespan of your furnace. We recommend scheduling it annually so your heating system is regularly inspected, cleaned, and adjusted to ensure optimal performance. To request service, call (253) 346-1971.

Need HVAC Service?

Contact the experts at Kliemann Brothers.

Call us at (253) 537-0655!

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