Furnace Maintenance Tips You Need to Know

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Your furnace is one of the most important features your home has. Regular furnace maintenance is crucial if you want to stay warm during the long winter months. A lot of homeowners run into problems when they go to turn on their furnace the first time the weather starts to cool, only to find that strange noises or odd smells are coming from their furnace.

At Integrity Air LLC, we have seen how beneficial maintenance can be for furnace owners in Portland and other surrounding cities. Those that take proper care of their furnace can avoid surprises, mishaps, and expensive repairs. For this article, we’re sharing our most helpful tips for furnace maintenance that our customers in Portland and elsewhere have found particularly useful.

Different Types of Home Furnaces

There are three main types of furnaces, all of which have their benefits and downsides. Most maintenance and cleaning procedures are universal whether you own a gas, oil, or electric furnace. Below you will find descriptions of each type of furnace to help you get more acquainted with how they function and provide heat.

Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are by far the most popular. These furnaces connect to a thermostat set to a specific temperature. When the temperature in your home dips below this predetermined point, the thermostat sends an electrical signal to the furnace. Once the signal reaches the furnace, the valves open up, natural gas gets delivered to the burners, and the blower turns on. Next, the furnace pilot light is ignited inside the combustion chamber. Once the air is warm, it is pushed through the ducts and into other areas of your home.

Oil Furnaces

Oil furnaces are an alternative option for gas furnaces. Oil furnaces work similarly to gas models, except they rely on oil, instead of gas, to heat your home. An oil furnace uses a fuel pump to draw oil from the reserve tank through a filter and to the burner chamber. Once the oil has reached this chamber, the oil converts into a mist that then sprays onto the furnace burner. From there, the chamber heats up, pulls air from your home into the chamber to warm it up, and then pushes the hot air back into your home.

There are several benefits to oil furnaces. An oil furnace is considered to be the most efficient way to heat your home. They are also much cheaper than gas furnaces to purchase and repair. Since oil furnaces are less complicated than their counterparts, they are generally less expensive to maintain.

Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces are similar to gas furnaces, except the heat is produced using electrical heating mechanisms rather than gas. Just as with gas and oil furnaces, cold air from your home is drawn into the electric furnace, converted into warm air, and then pushed through a duct system and into the rooms in your home. One of the best perks of electric furnaces is they don’t emit carbon monoxide. A lack of carbon monoxide production makes electric furnaces better for the environment and safer for your household.

Furnace Maintenance Tips

Now that you know a little more about how each type of furnace functions, let’s discuss how you can best maintain yours. Our experts at Integrity Air LLC recommend the following general and specific tips for furnace owners. If you want to keep your furnace running smoothly for years to come, know that a little maintenance can go a long way. Taking the time to care for your furnace properly will save you money in the long run.


Gas Furnace Maintenance

  • Stay Safe – Before you begin cleaning or checking your furnace, make sure it is turned off. Gas furnaces can be dangerous to work with, especially if there is a gas leak of any kind. In addition to turning off your furnace, you will also want to switch off any connected circuits.
  • Check for Leaks – Once you have shut off your furnace completely, check for any leaks. If you notice any puddles forming or dripping from leaks, request professional assistance right away. If leaking is not present, you can proceed with cleaning and maintenance on your own.
  • Replace the Filter – Our experts at Intergrity Air LLC recommend changing the filter every 90 days. If you observe that your furnace filter has a build-up of dirt, grime, or debris, considering replacing it as soon as possible. Some homeowners may find that they need to change their furnace filter more often or not as much, depending on their household and usage.
  • Check the Thermostat – Consider whether or not your thermostat has been working correctly. If you have noticed that after setting your thermostat temperature, you still feel uncomfortable in your home, it may be time for a replacement. If you have owned the same thermostat for many years, you may want to consider upgrading it.
  • Clean the Furnace Ducts and Vents – With forced-air furnaces, ducts are prone to damage. Use a high-powered vacuum cleaner to clean the ducts as often as necessary. Also, be sure to check the ventilation system, as it can become blocked with dirt and dust. Remove the vent cover and clean the vents using a large brush and a vacuum cleaner.

Oil Furnace Maintenance

  • Check the Chimney Smoke – Black smoke coming from your chimney while your furnace is in use is not a good sign. If you notice black smoke, this can be an indication that your furnace is not burning oil properly, and fuel is going to waste. A professional can be called in to adjust your furnace and eliminate this problem.
  • Clean the Blower – Your furnace blower should be cleaned at least twice a year — once at the beginning of the heating season and again midway through the season. You can do this yourself or have a professional help you.
  • Take Care of Soot Build-up – Soot can accumulate inside of your furnace’s combustion chamber. A lack of regular maintenance is most likely to cause this problem. Soot build-up can lower the efficiency of your furnace and should be taken care of at least twice a year. Without proper cleaning, soot may blow from your furnace and into your home. To avoid this, make sure you take care of any visible soot as soon as possible.

Electric Furnace Maintenance

    • Follow the Owner’s Manual Instructions – Many of the same maintenance tips listed above for gas and oil furnaces will also apply to electric furnace maintenance. Follow the tips described above to take care of your electric furnace this season. Check your owner’s manual for any additional instructions that may apply specifically to your electric furnace.

General Furnace Maintenance Tips

  • Schedule Annual Check-Ups – We recommend having your furnace inspected at least once a year before cold weather strikes. For those looking for furnace maintenance in Portland, give our team at Integrity Air LLC a call. We’ll make sure your furnace is working correctly by checking for rust or cracks, cleaning the pilot light, and making sure the ventilation system is clear. Our furnace experts in Portland have exceptional attention to detail and will listen for any strange noises, adjust parts as necessary, and clean any debris. Our technicians will also perform an overall assessment of your furnace performance and recommend repairs or replacements as necessary.
  • Hire a Professional Contractor – You should always hire a trusted and experienced contractor to oversee your yearly inspection. Going with a professional furnace service in Portland, like Integrity Air, LLC, will ensure that you receive an honest and fair assessment. Also, a specialist can help if maintenance procedures need to be performed, but you are unable to do them on your own.
  • Replace the Filter At Least Every 90 Days – To keep your furnace functioning as it should, set reminders to change the filter every 90 days. Changing out the filter every few months will prevent allergens, dust, and dirt from clogging the filter. Trapped particles in the filter can decrease the efficiency of your furnace. If you own dogs or cats, you should change the filter every 60 days. Allergy sufferers may need to change the furnace filter as often as every 30 days.


Integrity Air LLC has helped countless homeowners with their furnace maintenance requests. Our specialists are always available to assist with repairs, installations, and general maintenance procedures. If you need any kind of furnace repair in Portland, OR, or elsewhere in the Portland-metro area, give us a call today! We also service customers in Southern Washington, Vancouver, Tigard, Tualatin, Oregon City, Lake Oswego, and other surrounding cities. Let us help keep your home and loved ones warm all winter long!

Integrity Air LLC is here to offer professional furnace repair services in Portland and for other cities in the area. Call us now at (503) 598-0966 for assistance!