How to Clean an Electric Furnace

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Electric furnaces should be cleaned before the start of each heating season. Dirt and dust are the worst enemies of your furnace. Fortunately there are few moving parts and electric furnaces are designed for quick cleaning. The furnaces have no burners to clean or fuel lines to tend to. The entire cleaning project will only take a few minutes, but it could end up saving you lots of money in unnecessary repair bills due to neglect.

Things You'll Need

  • Furnace filter
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Stiff toothbrush
  • Flathead screwdriver

Turn the electrical supply off to the furnace. There will be a red switch, similar to a regular household light switch, near the furnace either mounted on the wall or the furnace. Flip the switch off to disconnect the power to the furnace.

Lift the blower access panel door up and pull the door away from the furnace. Pull the filter out of the furnace. Inspect the filter and replace the filter if dirty.

Use a vacuum to clean out dirt, debris and dust from the inside of the furnace. Vacuum especially around the blower wheel and compartment. You can use a stiff toothbrush to scrub the dust off of the blower wheel while vacuuming. Take care not to damage any wires while vacuuming inside the furnace.

Inspect the wires around the blower wheel and the coils. Tighten any terminals that have become loose with a Phillips-head screwdriver. Check the belt that operates the blower for frays or damage. A qualified HVAC technician should replace any wires or belts in your furnace.

Go around to all of the heat registers around the home and clean them. Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the screws securing the register grill to the wall or floor. Carefully insert the vacuum hose as far into the duct as possible and vacuum as much dust from the inside of the duct that you can get.

Set the register back into place and secure the register using the two retaining screws. Go back to the furnace and set the furnace filter into place. Reattach the access panel by lining the panel in the bottom track and lowering the panel into place. Turn the power back on to the furnace.

Tips & Warnings

  • When replacing furnace filters, consider spending a couple of more dollars on a HEPA filter. HEPA filters help in improving the air quality in your home.
  • Change furnace filters once a month during the heating season.
  • Always turn power off to the furnace before attempting any service.

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