If your home uses a furnace, you most likely have a forced-air system that circulates cooled or heated air throughout your home. A forced-air heating system works by catching up air from within the home and heating and distributing that air out through your ducts and vents and back into the house. If you do have a forced-air system, familiarizing yourself with how it works is a great way to maintain your unit and prevent damage that could warrant serious repairs.
A simple maintenance job that is worth learning how to do yourself is adjusting the blower-belt tension on your forced-air furnace. Assessing and maintaining this part of your unit is critical to the operation of your system. If allowed to get worn, the belt can break. While belt replacement will eventually be called for, a belt that breaks under pressure has the potential to cause serious damage to other parts in the system. Follow these three steps to assess and adjust the blower belt tension.
Step One: Turn off the power to your furnace via the breaker box—also called electrical service panel—before you access the blower. You will be near electrical parts, so always do this first. After shutting the power off, remove the blower access panel so you can get to the belt and motor.
Step Two: After you have accessed the belt and motor, check the belt for any serious signs of wear. If the belt looks good, use your forefinger and thumb to squeeze down on the center of the belt between the pulleys. If you've got an inch or more of slack, you'll need to tighten it. Similarly, if the belt is rigid with no movement, it may need to be loosened.
If there are pieces missing or cracking, you will need to replace the belt. You can usually just remove it and take it to a hardware store and have it replaced. If you are unable to do that, contact your local heating repair service; they should be able to order the belt.
Step Three: To tighten the belt, you will loosen the motor adjusting screws that are located on or near the blower pulleys. Depending on the placement of these parts in your system, you might have to pry the motor back to get to the blower pulleys. Once you've attained the proper tension, tighten the bolts securely and put the access cover back on.
If you see that your furnace is going to require other repairs while you're completing routine maintenance checks, contact a local heating repair service to help you assess any issues that would require a professional. Overall, the preventative care you give to your furnace and air conditioning system will keep it running without a hitch.
For more information, contact Lowry Services: Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling or a similar company.