Learn to Clean Your Furnace Tubes Efficiently

Do you want to learn to clean your furnace ducts efficiently, but aren’t sure where to start? This can be a somewhat complicated question, as the process for cleaning the ducts in your furnace’s heat exchanger will vary widely. The approach that you use will depend upon what type of furnace you have in your home.

For most new high efficiency units with secondary heat exchangers, you’ll have to completely remove the blower assembly and disconnect a good deal of wiring. Unless you’re mechanically inclined and confident in your ability to reconnect all of these components correctly, cleaning the ducts on this style of furnace may be better left to the professionals. Yet, older style gas or oil furnaces are relatively straightforward to clean and it’s vital that they be serviced regularly for optimum operation. To help you learn the steps for doing so, let’s take a closer look at the process below.


Locate the Clean-Outs.

Many older style gas and oil furnaces have dedicated clean-outs, which are ports that can easily be accessed and removed for cleaning. There is a reason that these clean-outs are present, as older gas and oil furnaces create soot and build-up that must be cleaned regularly. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your furnace at worst and Image result for furnace ductshaving an inefficient furnace at best.


Gather Your Equipment.

While some experts recommend that you hire a professional furnace cleaning service with a powerful truck-mounted vacuum, you can clean your furnace on your own with passable results (1). You’ll need an air compressor and shop vac, in order to loosen and then suck up the debris that’s inside the ducts of the heat exchanger.



Start the Cleaning Process.

Typically, you’ll find two clean-out ports, one on each end of the heat exchanger ducts. Place the nozzle of the air Image result for air compressor and shop vaccompressor on one of the clean-outs, and the vacuum hose on the other. With the vacuum running, begin blowing a powerful stream of air into the clean-out until you no longer see any dust billowing out.

In addition, while the vacuum will catch most of the dust, soot and other debris, you may want to wear a protective mask just to be safe. Also, before doing any cleaning, you should locate the main gas shut-off valve and make sure it’s in the off position.



Replace the Clean-Out Covers.

Most clean-outs will just have a nut and bolt present to tighten them back into place. For a better seal, place high-temp silicone sealer around the edge of the clean-out cover (2). Allow this to dry before turning your furnace back Image result for air compressor and shop vacon.

Generally speaking, doing this type of DIY cleaning 1-2 times a year can help keep your furnace running better and allow you to go longer between professional service calls. That said, a HVAC service company will likely be able to clean off the soot build-up more effectively – so you may want to have them out to clean your furnace every few years.


With ⅛ of an inch of soot being roughly equal to 1 inch of fiberglass insulation, allowing this to build up in your heat exchanger can significantly reduce its performance (3). A thick soot coating won’t allow the metal pipes of the exchanger to heat up as effectively – meaning you’ll have to run your furnace longer to reach the desired temperature. Fortunately, you can learn to clean your furnace ducts efficiently without much trouble, using the steps above to guide you.

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