Although spring and summer are the most common times of the year for seasonal allergies, you can also experience puffy eyes, dripping sinuses and other symptoms during the winter. One of the things you wouldn't expect to cause your wintertime allergies is your furnace. As your furnace circulates heated air through the home, it picks up hidden pollen, pet dander and other contaminants, which build up inside the furnace's blower motor and blower fan. These two parts power the furnace, as well as circulate heat throughout the house. To get rid of the home's contaminants and improve your allergy symptoms, you need to clean and oil your furnace. Here's how you calm down your furnace when it wreaks havoc on your allergies.
Why Clean and Oil Your Furnace?
Cleaning and oiling your furnace not only reduces the allergens in your home, it helps the appliance work better throughout the winter. Furnaces that lack sufficient lubrication or build up with dust and dirt can't heat your home properly. Instead, the furnace struggles to remove and replace the cold drafts of air inside your home. A drafty home can lead to wintertime cold and flu viruses, which make your allergies even worse.
Before you do anything to your furnace, get a few supplies ready for the cleaning and oiling. You need:
- 1 small container of household oil made without detergents that can rust or damage your blower fan or motor
- 2 small hand towels
- 1 large bucket of warm water with 2 teaspoons of dish detergent
Remove any obstacles from around or near the furnace before you clean and oil it. You want to avoid accidents, such as tripping and falling, while you work.
How Should You Clean and Oil Your Furnace?
Cleaning and oiling your furnace isn't hard to do once you have your supplies. However, you need to follow specific steps to do so. First, turn off your furnace's power supply at the appliance or wall outlet. If you have a gas furnace, be sure to turn off the gas valve to prevent leaks into your home.
Next, use a Phillips screwdriver or electric tool to remove the panels that cover the blower fan and motor. If you don't know how to do so, use your appliance's homeowner's guide to help get through this step.
Now, complete the cleaning and oiling with the steps below:
- Pull the fan and motor out a few inches from their resting place, then look for four small oil ports on the surface of the motor, which is the smallest of the two parts. The ports have small labels or indicators to help you locate them.
- Put two drops of oil into the motor's ports. Wait a second for the oil to seep down into the ports, then add two more drops to each port. The oil should run out of the ports when they're full.
- Place three drops of oil in the port located on the front of the fan blower, which is the largest part.
- Wet one hand towel with the soapy water, squeeze out the excess water and carefully wipe down the surfaces of the motor and fan. Don't drip water into the parts to prevent rust and other problems.
- Rinse and wet your towel with fresh water, then wipe down the housing of the furnace. Be sure to clean around the inside of the appliance to remove hidden contaminants.
- Dry the furnace, blower motor and fan with the unused hand towel, then replace the parts back into place.
- Close up the furnace, then wait 30 minutes for the appliance and parts to dry completely.
- Turn the furnace's power and/or gas back on.
Your furnace should now run smoothly, as well as keep the air clean in your home. It's a good idea that you clean and oil your furnace every year just before fall to ensure that it works efficiently. You can also schedule a maintenance checkup with your HVAC contractor for additional services.
For more ideas on how to keep your home allergy-free this winter, contact local HVAC companies like R & B Heating & Air Conditioning.