Cleaning Up Your Ventilation System
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Cleaning Up Your Ventilation System

When I moved into my first place, I couldn't believe how dirty everything was all the time. I found myself dusting and mopping continuously, only to deal with a fresh layer of grime later. After awhile, I realized that the problem was blowing straight out of my air ducts. My ventilation lines were so dirty that it was spreading grime through my house every single time the air clicked on. Fortunately, I called an HVAC contractor who was able to clean my vents to a gleaming shine. I know how big of a difference cleaning up your ventilation system can make, which is why I want to spread the word.


Cleaning Up Your Ventilation System

Heating Maintenance | Tips to Consider Before Replacing Your Direct-Drive Gas Furnace

Rick Wells

If your direct-drive gas furnace is slow to heat your home, you may wonder if you should replace the appliance. Before you replace your furnace, check out its blower assembly and parts first. Sometimes, these parts can build up debris or experience other issues that keep them from operating properly. Here's what you should know about your gas furnace's blower assembly system and how you can improve its performance.

What's the Blower Assembly?

Unlike belt-driven furnaces that typically come in multiple pieces, direct-drive appliances come in one complete assembly. The blower assembly is the large cage-like device that sits near the bottom of the furnace and just behind the side or back paneling. The blower looks similar to a snail's shell and contains a motor and fan, which are the most important parts of the assembly. If these two parts malfunction or build up with debris, they can interfere with your furnace's heating.

The motor requires electricity to operate instead of gas, and one of its main functions is to warm the air that returns to the furnace through the home's return air ducts. This part sits in the center of the blower and attaches to the blower's housing with three large bolts. The bolts can loosen up over time and cause a number of issues with the motor, including strange sounds. The motor can also make noises when the oil ports inside the motor dry out. 

The fan motor, also called a blower wheel or squirrel cage, can cause problems with your furnace it dirt builds up on the blades. The debris keeps air from moving out of the blower assembly and into the plenum, which is the part of the furnace that transfers heat to the supply ducts. It's possible for a very clogged blower wheel to circulate little to no air through it.

If you don't correct the issues above right away, the furnace can eventually break down or quit working altogether.

How Do You Maintain the Motor and Fan?

First, turn the supply gas and electrical power to the furnace off for safety. Fill a large bucket with 1 gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of dish detergent. Place a covering around the furnace to catch any water that drips onto the floor. You also need three clean rags, a small can of non-detergent household oil and a vacuum cleaner.

After you have the right items, follow the steps below:

  1. Pull out the air filter that sits in front of the blower compartment and set it aside. If the filter is soiled, you can exchange it for a clean one later.
  2. Remove the bottom paneling from over the blower assembly, gently pull out the device. If screws or wires hold it place, read your appliance's owner's manual to remove it.
  3. Use a wrench to disconnect the motor from the blower housing.
  4. Locate the oil ports on the top or front surface of the part. If the ports appear clogged with debris, use ear swabs to clean them out.
  5. Place 2 to 3 drops of oil into the ports. Use a dry rag to wipe away any oil that spills out of the ports.
  6. Use your vacuum to clean the blades of the fan.
  7. Wet a rag with soapy water, then carefully wipe down the blades and the inside of the cage. 
  8. Use the last rag to dry the fan and motor, then secure the parts back into their correct places.
  9. Tighten the bolts connecting the motor to the housing with your wrench thoroughly.
  10. Replace the paneling over the blower assembly, then return gas and electrical power to the furnace.

Set your thermostat to a temperature you desire, then wait to see if the furnace reaches it. The wait time may vary, so monitor the thermostat carefully. 

If the furnace doesn't reach the thermostat's temperature in a reasonable amount of time, contact a furnace repair technician, such as Custom Comfort, for services.