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Forced Air Furnace Maintenance

Always keep the space around furnaces clean and free of clutter. Periodically (at least 4 times per year) check and replace, or wash, air filters and inspect your furnace for signs of unusual operation such as discoloration, soot, or disconnected vents.

Time Needed: 20 minutes
Frequency: At least 4 times per year
Number of steps: 6
Tools you might need: flashlight
Skill level: easy
What if I don’t do this? Increased energy bills and repair costs, decreased heating efficiency, shorter appliance life, a small problem can become an expensive repair

Step 1: More Information

All furnaces, unless they are electric, have vents that lead to the outside of your home. See also: Appliance Vent Maintenance

Step 2: Locate Appliance(s)

Locate all furnaces (some homes have more than one). Normally you will find them in a basement, utility room, or closet. They may have slightly different sizes, shapes, colors.

Step 3: Keep The Area Clear

Clear away obstructions and clean debris from floor around the appliance.

Step 4: More Information

Setting your thermostat(s) properly will keep you comfortable and reduce your energy bills. See also: Proper Use of Thermostats

Step 5: Replace The Filter

All forced air furnaces have some type of air filtration. There are many different styles, shapes, and sizes. Some furnaces have more than one filter. Some must be replaced and some can be washed and reused. Find out what type of filter your furnace has now so you are prepared when it is time for maintenance. When filters are replaced, be sure they are in the same position and direction as when they were removed.

Step 6: Professional Maintenance

Always follow manufacturer instructions for recommended professional maintenance. Inspect your furnace(s), and the surrounding area for discoloration, soot, or disconnected vents. Important! If any of these conditions exist, contact a qualified service company immediately.


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This website offers suggestions for how you should properly maintain and operate your home. However, you should always refer to your builder warranty, maintenance and homeowner manual documents for the specific operation and maintenance requirements for your individual home and its equipment.