How to Maintain Furnace – Simple DIY Tips

6 Simple Steps For DIY Homeowners To Maintain Your Furnace

Once you learn How to maintain a Furnace, you will save considerable costs on Furnace repairs – All you need to know are the basics of simple furnace maintenance.

A forced air furnace is a heating system that produces heat and uses a fan to circulate warm air throughout your home, but a furnace is also one of the most expensive appliances in your house.

In fact, according to Architectural Digest – the average cost to replace a furnace is $4,696.

As the most common heating system today, Forced Air furnaces can be powered by natural gas, oil, or electricity – the most popular by far is the  “Natural Gas” Furnace, which this article will highlight.

Furnace Check-Up:  Maintaining your forced air furnace is essential to ensure that it operates efficiently and safely, and these 6 simple tips will help you extend your furnace’s life – keeping your home warm and comfortable all winter long.

How To Maintain Forced Air Furnace:

1)  Replace Furnace Air filter Regularly

furnace filter image
How Often Should You Change Furnace Filter –

The air filter in your forced air furnace is one of the most important parts of the system. It helps remove dust, pollen, and other pollutants from the air before circulating throughout your home.

A dirty air filter can restrict airflow, which can cause your furnace to work harder and use more energy. It can also lead to poor indoor air quality.

The best way to determine how often to change your air filter is to consult your furnace owner’s manual. However, as a general rule, you should change your air filter every 30-60 days.

Note: You may need to change your air filter more often if you have pets or allergies.

2)  Clean the Blower Compartment

The blower fan is located in your forced air furnace’s blower compartment. Over time, dust and debris can build up in the blower compartment, reducing airflow and efficiency.

During a Furnace Check, inspecting your furnace’s blower compartment visually is highly recommended.  To do so, follow the instructions below.

cleaning furnace compartment
Vacuum inside of Furnace Compartment –

To “Clean” the Blower Compartment in your furnace, you will need to;

  1. Turn off the power to your furnace.
  2. Open the access panel to the blower compartment.
  3. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the compartment.
  4. Wipe down the interior dust or cobwebs from the compartment with a damp cloth.
  5. Replace the access panel.

3)  Inspect Burners in Furnace.

The burners in your forced air furnace are responsible for heating the air circulating throughout your home.

Over time, the burners can become dirty or clogged, and spiders can build nests in and around them, reducing efficiency and increasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Inspecting Burners in Furnace
Inspecting Burners in Furnace –

To Inspect the Burners, you will need to:

  1. Turn off the power to your furnace.
  2. Open the access panel to the burner compartment.
  3. Use a flashlight to inspect the heating burners for any signs of dirt, debris, or damage.
  4. Clean the burners with a brush or vacuum cleaner if you see any dirt, debris, or damage.
  5. Replace the access panel.

4)  Check the Pilot Light

The pilot light is a small flame that ignites the main burners in your forced air furnace. If the pilot light goes out, your furnace will not work.

pilot light in gas furnace
How to Inspect Pilot Light on Gas Furnace –

To Check the Pilot Light, you will need to:

  1. Turn off the power to your furnace.
  2. Open the access panel to the burner compartment.
  3. Look for a small flame near the burners.
  4. If you do not see a flame, use a match or lighter to relight the pilot light.
  5. Once the pilot light is lit, turn the power to your furnace.

5). Clean the Condensation line on the Furnace twice a year.

clean condensation line on furnace
How to Clean Condensation Line on Furnace – 

Pour water into the condensation drain.

Once the water runs clear through the drain, Pour 1 cup of Vinegar or place a Drain Line Tablet into the condensation line after pouring in water.

A Drain line Tablet package costs less than $10 and lasts 3 years. (See link in the FAQ section below).

Follow this Video to Clean Your Furnace Condensation Drain.


6). Have your Furnace Inspected and Serviced Annually

If you don’t feel comfortable doing your own heating inspection, you may want to hire a Pro to do the work.

Having your forced air furnace inspected and serviced by a qualified technician at least once a year is essential. A heating inspection will help ensure your furnace operates safely and efficiently.

How Much Does a Furnace Inspection Cost?  If you google search your local area for “furnace inspections” or “furnace inspection near me,” you should find multiple contractors listed, many of which offer “Deals” for furnace inspections.  Most often, a heating inspection cost is between $80-$100.

Here is a Typical Ad for Furnace Maintenance (In Minnesota) For Reference only.

Be aware that the Furnace Inspection is just that: An inspection, parts, and additional labor are not included. 

Be sure to look at Google reviews, and only hire a high-rated and trustworthy mechanical contractor to inspect, as some companies use the inspection to get in the door.

It’s also important to know what the inspection “includes,” such as a new filter, vacuuming the compartment, etc.

During an annual inspection, the technician should include the following (but not always):

  • Check the air filter
  • Clean the blower compartment
  • Inspect the burners
  • Check the pilot light
  • Test the safety controls
  • Make any necessary repairs (parts and labor are extra)

These simple tips can help keep your forced air furnace in good working order for many years.

Additional Tips – Troubleshooting Forced Air Furnace:

  • Turn off the power to the furnace before you start troubleshooting. This will help to prevent electrical shock.
  • Be careful when working around the furnace. The furnace is hot and can contain sharp edges.
  • Do not attempt to repair the furnace yourself if you are not qualified. A qualified technician will have the knowledge and experience to repair your furnace safely and adequately.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Are The Best DIY Tips to Maintain Furnace?

This is a short list of the best maintenance you can do on your furnace:

  • Inspect Burner Flames
  • Keep Blower Clean (Use Vacuum)
  • Change Furnace Filter Regularly (30-60 days)
  • Keep Flame Sensor and Pilot free of dust
  • Inspect the blower drive belt for wear
  • Vacuum Burners

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Furnace?

Failing to keep your furnace clean and free of dust and dirt will cause undo wear on furnace parts and result in a shorter life span for your HVAC system.

How Often Should You Drain the Condensation Line on a Furnace?

HVAC professionals recommend draining the condensation line on your furnace twice a year. This is a super simple procedure; however, failure to do so can lead to buildup or a blockage, causing poor operation and spills onto the floor.


We highly recommend using this checklist to do annual maintenance on your furnace.  Many of these tasks are quick and easy but can make a massive difference in the efficiency of your forced air furnace.

Whether you choose DIY furnace maintenance or hire a Pro, you’ll be miles ahead vs. doing nothing.

Remember The adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”?  Annual Furnace Inspection is more like “10 minutes of inspection is worth hundreds of dollars in repair” when it comes to maintaining your furnace.

Additional Reading & Resources for Homeowners

Kevin Carroll
Kevin Carroll
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear, and uses his 25+ years experience in Commercial and Residential Construction Management to author and publish the work for this website. In addition to publishing Best Home Gear; Kevin enjoys the outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, and completing DIY projects at his Home and Garden.

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Author and Publisher for Best Home Gear

Kevin is the Author, and Publisher @ Best Home Gear, which he began In 2018.

As a Professional in Construction, Real Estate and Property Management, Kevin uses that experience to publish Useful Articles, and help homeowners improve (DIY) their own homes, lawns, and outdoor spaces.

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