Furnace 101: How to Keep Your Furnace Happy

Blog Post Image
Home Improvement

Look outside: is there still a foot of snow on the ground, covered by a thin layer of ice?

Does your thermostat still register in the single digits?

Are you googling places like this in a vainglorious attempt to stay warm?

Yeah. Me, too.

Temperatures are expected to rise this week (but not by much), and now would be the perfect time to give your furnace a little TLC.

Winters in the Midwest are notoriously harsh: bitter cold, with ice one day and snow the next.

With your furnace, there isn't a problem until there is a problem, and it's best to make sure your HVAC system is fully functional.

Since I'm always looking out for you, I've prepared a quick Furnace 101 primer.


Servicing Your Furnace:

Before you service your furnace, know which system you have. Here are some helpful definitions:

♦   Warm Air Furnace: Warm air furnaces using gas, oil, or electricity power are common. A blower motor forces air through a heat exchanger and filter. Once the circulated air reaches a predetermined temperature (set by the thermostat), the blower shuts off.

♦   Forced Air System: Forced air systems heat uniformly to the 110-degree range. A well-designed forced air system will feature outside ducts, as well as high and low adjustable supply registers and a return register in each home.

♦  Combustion Air System: The combustion air system is one by which oxygen is delivered and gases are removed from the furnace in order to produce heat. It is vital that technicians check everything on these systems, since a furnace of this type can produce carbon monoxide if working improperly.

Regardless of the type of heating system you have, these pointers may help you between service check-ups:

1. Check the draft hood above the opening in the furnace for discoloration, soot, peeling paint, hair, dust or cobwebs.

2. Check the flue, the metal pipe that extends from the furnace to the chimney or vent, for deterioration.

3. Check the chimney for blockage. If your eyes tear or your throat burns when the furnace is on, call for help. Your vents may be blocked. Also, be sure to check for broken or crumbled mortar or bricks.

4. If you see an oil cap when you check your furnace, be sure to keep it oiled. Just lift the cover and add a few drops of oil occasionally. Check the belt, too, which is inexpensive and easy to replace.

Safety Concerns:

♦   Understand the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning (headache, tightness in the chest, watering and burning eyes, weariness, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, loss of muscular control) and call for help if you experience any of these symptoms.

♦   Make sure your floor is dry. Standing water on the floor near your unit is dangerous.

♦   Never store things near your heater, especially combustible items. A pilot or gas burner producing a steady yellow flame (indicating improper combustion) may require a contractor for adjustment; occasional orange-yellow or red streaks in a flame are normal.


All of this sound like too much to take on yourself? Perfectly understandable.

If you would rather hire an HVAC company to clean and service your furnace, check out our Client Resources page and call one of our trusted vendors.


Florida sounding better by the minute?

Thinking about making a move?

Let's start the conversation.


Stay warm,



Miriam Odegard, Real Estate Broker

United Real Estate Indianapolis

1425 East 82nd Street, Suite 200

Indianapolis, IN 46240

text/mobile:  (317) 220-5397

email:  miriam@miriamodegardhomes.com

Looking for Your Next Home?

Thinking about Selling your Home? 

What's Going on in the Market?