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Why You Should Clean These Critical Parts of the Furnace

Your furnace works best if it’s clean — dirt, soot, and grime affect the furnace’s efficiency and operations. Below are critical parts of the furnace that should always be clean — and why.

Blower Assembly

The main components of the blower assembly include the blower motor and fan. The blower is responsible for pushing heated air through the supply ducts for onward circulation throughout the house. A dirty blower assembly can lead to various problems, such as:

  • Poor indoor air quality
  • Poor circulation
  • Overheated blower motor

The cleaner has to remove the cover panel to access the blower assembly. This may entail sliding or unscrewing the panel, depending on the model. A vacuum cleaner and a soft brush are usually enough to do the cleaning.


Furnace burners burn the air-fuel mixture to produce the heat that warms your house. Dirty burners can lead to:

  • Ignition difficulties
  • Gas buildup in the heat exchanger that can cause a small explosion
  • Combustion inefficiency that leads to poor heating, energy inefficiency, and increased carbon monoxide (CO) production

The burners are typically located above the blower assembly. Reaching the burners depends on the furnace model. For example, in some models, you may access the burners after removing the blower assembly panel. In other models, you have to remove a second metal cover.

Once you can access the burners, release the clips holding them in place, and take them out. Again, vacuuming and brushing should help you clean the burners.

Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger separates the combustion process and products from your indoor air. The separation ensures heat, and not combustion gases, from the burners reach your indoor air. If the heat exchanger is clogged, heat transfer slows down. The clogs can also lead to overheating and eventually crack the heat exchanger.

The heat exchanger comprises separate chambers that require individual cleaning. You can use a rug, brush, and a vacuum cleaner for the cleaning. You may also need to attach a hose to the vacuum cleaner to reach all of the heat exchanger’s parts.

Air Filter

The air filter, which cleans air flowing into the furnace, gets dirty after some time. A clogged air filter restricts airflow to the furnace, which can lead to:

  • Furnace overheating
  • Lengthy furnace cycles
  • Heating inefficiency
  • Energy inefficiency

Whether or not you need to clean the air filter depends on its type. Furnaces use two types of air filters — disposable and non-disposable ones. Discard and replace a disposable air filter if it’s dirty. Clean a non-disposable filter, according to its manufacturer’s instructions, once it gets dirty.

Flame Sensor

The flame sensor sits inside the burner assembly. The sensor detects the presence or absence of a flame and uses the feedback to control the furnace. For example, the flame sensor will shut down the furnace if there is no flame.

Dirt accumulation on the flame sensor insulates it and reduces its flame-detection ability. This is dangerous since it can allow furnace gas to leak into your home. The flame sensor is delicate and susceptible to mechanical damage. Thus, it requires delicate cleaning, preferably with a fine emery cloth.

Exterior Surfaces and Surrounding

The exterior surfaces and surrounding of the furnace also need to be clean. The furnace draws its air from its surrounding. Thus, a dirty surrounding will lead to a dirty furnace, accelerated filter clogging, and dirty indoor air.

Ideally, your furnace should get a professional cleaning at least once a year. ASAP AIR Air Conditioning and Heating can clean your furnace during its annual inspection and maintenance. We can also diagnose and fix any heating problems you have. Contact us for a quote, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.