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How to Maintain Your Furnace to Achieve Maximum Efficiency in Big Bear

Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating


Every season comes with its hassles. For winter, you have to combine staying warm with keeping your utility bills at an agreeable level. There is also the issue of maintaining your furnace to avoid a hefty repair bill.

In this article, we explain how to maintain your furnace to achieve maximum efficiency. We include subtle ways to extend your unit’s service life and save operating costs and a maintenance cleaning routine ahead of winter. Read on to learn more.

How to Maintain Your Furnace to Achieve Maximum Efficiency

To help you with any heating problems you might face during winter, this section explores techniques for maintaining your furnace to achieve maximum efficiency.

Regularly Clean or Replace Your Filter

A furnace filter removes dirt from air as it is absorbed into the system. Pollen, bacteria, spores, dust mites are a few among the elements the filter removes from the air before it is circulated into your home. This makes its role a very important one.

You can often find the filter at the spot where the return duct connects to your furnace. In terms of air quality, filters can vary by price level. A lower-cost filter will remove many of the basic particles in the atmosphere; however, expensive ones guarantee better indoor air for people who suffer from breathing challenges.

When the filter is clogged with dirt, the furnace runs at a lower level of efficiency. You should change low-cost filters every 30 to 90 days. For higher-priced ones, you should do this at least every three months. To get more insight on what works for your unit, check the details provided by the manufacturer.

Cut Back on the Heating Load

The heat load is the amount of heat needed to sufficiently warm your house. A factor that can make this load considerably high is when there are many points through which air escapes and seeps in within your home. You may want to contact an HVAC service provider to run an energy audit to correct these weaknesses.

The professional will use specialized tools to identify leaks precisely and tell you how to improve. Following the audit, the technician may advise you to install weatherstripping and insulate your attic and ductwork.


Although your furnace occupies a separate area of your home, you must keep flammable items such as boxes, clothes, or aerosols away from their surroundings.

Exhaust Flue for Gas Furnaces

Inadequate maintenance of your exhaust flue can result in severe health implications. Within the fumes from your furnace, you would often find elements like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide. Their presence is even more prominent when proper maintenance is not conducted.

Health effects include fatigue, heart palpitations, nausea, dizziness, and death. If you suspect any issues in your exhaust flue, immediately reach out to an HVAC expert.

Declutter Your Household Vents

Vents allow air to flow smoothly through the house. When there are barriers in the way of a vent, your furnace makes extra effort to keep up, resulting in a quick dip in the efficiency level. As such, removing objects which are in the way of proper circulation can allow air to disperse freely and lengthen the lifespan of your furnace.

Blower Motor

Your furnace’s blower motor propels the fan that moves air in the furnace. After the heating component has brought the exchanger to the desired temperature, the blower drives air through the heat exchanger. The result is warm air which is the system distributes across the home.

The furnace blower plays a central role in the overall functionality of the furnace. It is located close to the air filter, and if its parts are not well maintained, it can start to malfunction. A furnace blower can be noisy when there is a problem with the blower wheel or the electric motor.

A loud hum may indicate an electrical fault, while shrill sounds point to two metals grinding against each other. The grinding, in this case, is likely the blower wheel scraping the internal housing as it loosens from the motor’s shaft. Whatever the case might be, it is best you employ the services of a qualified HVAC professional.

Clean Vents and Ductwork

Regular cleaning helps to keep your system in a proper shape for operations. At the beginning of each winter, create a maintenance checklist for your system.

  • Observe if the vents are accessible
  • If registers are clear of interfering debris
  • And if elements can slip into the ductwork and hinder output

Where you find any of these, initiate a cleaning process to clear them out. This saves you the cost of repair during the cold season.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Thermostats are both a way to save energy and to increase the service life of your unit. Programmable thermostats allow you to set specific temperatures for different times of the day. For instance, it is quite wasteful to run your furnace at normal temperatures when you are not home. Your furnace can adopt time-specific temperatures with a thermostat, preventing the equipment from working intensely for extended periods.

With new advancements in thermostat technology, you can control your furnace using a smart connection. Through an app, you can send instructions to the system to run certain temperatures based on need. For instance, raising the heat in your living space minutes before you arrive from work helps to warm your house ahead of time.

In addition, smart thermostats learn your temperature habits over time after a series of programming sessions.

Clear Obstructions around the Equipment

For many homeowners, furnaces are stored in basements, garages, and crawl spaces. These sometimes tend to also serve as storage hubs. It is important to keep objects at a 3-foot minimum distance away from the furnace for safety and efficiency.

This applies to outdoor AC units too. If you use a heat pump, maintain the same area of space around the unit. Doing this allows for good airflow.

Rotate Ceiling Fans in Reverse

To effectively disperse warm air, run your ceiling fans in a clockwise motion. The effect this has is the transfer of warmth from the ceiling area to the bottom where you need it.


To reduce the workload on your furnace, you could make use of heat-producing appliances like your oven. Rather than purchase pre-baked meals at an outlet, roast yours to distribute heat around the immediate area. Winter is also a great time to indulge in new baking recipes. You can certainly have fun while maintaining your furnace!

However, do not warm your home by leaving the oven door open.

Trap Natural Heat

Maintaining your furnace for maximum efficiency includes the use of alternative heat sources. In this case, the sun is a natural option. Utilize the sun’s warmth by leaving your blinds open during the day. At night, shut the curtains to retain accumulated heat.

How to Clean Your Furnace for Maximum Efficiency

Cleaning your furnace is not intense activity in terms of equipment. Usually, you only need a vacuum cleaner in addition to a few basics. Here, we run you through maintenance processes for your furnace before winter.

But before you begin, remember to:

  • Shut down the electricity and fuel supply before working on your furnace
  • Keep equipment such as tools and spare parts close
  • Have an assortment of replacement filters at the ready. Also, keep patching materials such as tape within reach

Step 1: The Combustion Chamber

As stated earlier, shut off electricity and fuel supply to the furnace. To cut the electricity, use the on/off switch attached to the system. Depending on the type of furnace you use, you can find the fuel supply near the oil tank or gas pipe.

Afterward, open the combustion chamber and remove dirt with a vacuum cleaner. Should you find holes within, close them up with foil tape.

Step 2: Remove Debris from the Blower Compartment

As you did with the combustion chamber, vacuum the interior and check for holes. Extend your search for leaks to the exhaust flue. If there are any holes, seal them using foil tape before closing the door.

Inspect the ductwork for any leaks as well.

Step 3: The Furnace Filter

Furnace filters trap dust and dirt before they enter the system. Be sure to replace your filter every 1 to 3 months to maintain efficiency. Investing in higher-grade filters can greatly boost the quality of your indoor air.

If you use an oil furnace, you will need to replace the oil and air filters. The oil filter requires changing on a yearly basis.

Step 4: The Motor Bearings

Older versions of furnaces have two motor bearings and two blower-shaft bearings. Both pairs need to be oiled annually. To do this, wipe the caps on the bearings with a clean piece of cloth. After this, apply 2 to 3 drops of lightweight machine oil after removing the caps.

Be careful not to add too much lubrication. Once you have done this, return the caps to their previous positions.

Reach Out to Bear Valley Plumbing in Big Bear, CA!

In this article, we have provided comprehensive insights into maintaining your furnace to achieve maximum efficiency. We discussed a mix of ways by which you can achieve efficiency and maintenance procedures to prepare your unit for the winter season. However, we cannot underestimate the importance of hiring an HVAC service professional.

While there are some things you can do yourself, it is best to engage technicians in certain cases to prevent complications. Big Bear is an HVAC service company focused on delivering quality to clients at all times. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to meet your technical needs. Contact us now to schedule a free case evaluation.

If you are looking for a Big Bear plumbing, heating & air conditioning contractor, please call (909) 584-4376 or complete our online request form.