Furnace is derived from the Latin word “fornax”, which means oven. In modern day, furnace refers to a household heating system. The heat energy supplied to a furnace can come from three sources; fuel, electricity and induction heating.
Furnaces have long been used to heat the home during winter. Early furnaces used wood until about the 17th century when coal was used to replace wood. In the 1940s, the primary fuel became gas. Because of the energy crisis, electricity replaced gas furnaces around the 1970s.
Cleaning the furnace is an important part of maintenance schedules that need to be kept especially when the winter months are over. Dirty furnaces use up more fuel, whether electricity or gas. In fact, the furnace must be cleaned every six months in order to keep it energy efficient.
If you want to try cleaning furnaces on your own, you will need the following tools; brush or an old toothbrush, screwdriver, water, soap, vacuum cleaner, dry cleaning cloths and possibly a new furnace filter.
Steps in cleaning the furnace:
1. Find the access panel on the exterior of the furnace. Remove the panel by unscrewing the bolts, or by removing it from the hooks that keep it in position. Remove the filter and inspect it for dirt and damages. Place the newly cleaned filter the same way it was removed. If filter is damaged, replace with a new one.
2. Unplug power source and remove fan from the unit. Using an old toothbrush, soap and water, gently clean the blower and dry it properly. Using a vacuum cleaner, remove the dirt from the belts and pulleys inside the blower assembly.
3. If unit is a gas furnace, turn the gas off. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt and buildup from inside the chambers.
4. Clean the rest of the interiors of the furnace using the brush, cloth or vacuum cleaner. Replace the front panel by putting the screws back on or the hooks in place.