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Old 10-12-2008, 02:18 AM   #1
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Dirty furnace-how to clean?


When replacing the very dirty filter to our Trane (4TEE3F31A) furnace, I noticed that dust, dirt, etc. coated part of what appeared to be a large 'V' shaped metal object inside the furnace. I could see this with my flashlight, as I peered thru the narrow opening where the filter goes. I'd like to clean this up before I turn the furnace back on. It appears I could get to it by removing the front panel of the furnace. However, not having done this before, and not knowing what that big metal 'V' shaped thing is, I thought I'd better ask...?
Thanks for your help!
Debbie
PS: I have learned that it is important to replace furnace filters more frequently than every 18 mos!

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Old 10-12-2008, 09:33 AM   #2
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Dirty furnace-how to clean?


your looking in at the fan section and that is the access cover you can pop off to see innto the motor and squirrel cage.SHUT the side mounted 115V toggle switch to kill the furnace power during any work inside.depending on the fan mounting and electrical connector you might be able to slide the fan section out to wipe down the inside and outside metal area.the filter can go a seasonal change out if you hold it up to the light and can see thru it your good on the air movement.if your home has carpeting you might see more dust then normal wood floors but most is general home dust.if your doing a 1" filter they are cheap and availible at HD...18 months is a long one for a filter to keep up with,if it was saturated with dirt the >>>>fan section is the next magnet for dirt.then the >>>heat exchanger then >>>the cooling coil(big repair their)if the condensate starts dripping onto the HX during the summer...the HX could develope pin holes and cracks and a dust burn off on a first season heat run might cause concerns.this is all adverted with seasonal/bi-seasonal changing of that filter.if you want to freshen up the house up with a fragrence airwick smell things just pop one into the fan section and close the cover and during the normal running cycles cooling or heating the whole house will catch the scent.

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Old 10-12-2008, 09:42 AM   #3
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Dirty furnace-how to clean?


Quote:
Originally Posted by luv2sipt View Post
When replacing the very dirty filter to our Trane (4TEE3F31A) furnace, I noticed that dust, dirt, etc. coated part of what appeared to be a large 'V' shaped metal object inside the furnace. I could see this with my flashlight, as I peered thru the narrow opening where the filter goes. I'd like to clean this up before I turn the furnace back on. It appears I could get to it by removing the front panel of the furnace. However, not having done this before, and not knowing what that big metal 'V' shaped thing is, I thought I'd better ask...?
Thanks for your help!
Debbie
PS: I have learned that it is important to replace furnace filters more frequently than every 18 mos!
It could be your A coil.

Do you have central air?
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:08 AM   #4
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Dirty furnace-how to clean?


Thanks for your quick replies! In response to Marvin Gardins, no, we don't have central air. Our home is 2 story and approx 1900 sf.
To 'biggles', yes the filter was one of those cheap HD ones, and very thickly covered with dust/dirt. You definitely could NOT see thru it! We have mostly carpet, but lineoleum in kit/bath, with hardwood in the hallway. As it sounds like I can access that area, I will get to work today cleaning it up. What kind of air freshener do I use in the filter? I would like "freshen up" our house!
Thanks again for your help!
Debbie
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:14 AM   #5
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Dirty furnace-how to clean?


Good advice, if I might add to it I would say since the blower is out take a good looj at the blower wheel. If the curved blades are caked with dust take a wire brush to them. This build up is enough to cause loss of airflow.
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:34 AM   #6
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The Trane 4TEE3F31A is a (nominal 2 tons)VS blower air handler.

So you should be seeing the evap coil from the filter access door.

It is not 115 volt, it is 240 volt.

The motor and controler are both very sensitive to moisture. Do NOT get them wet. Or it will be a very costly mistake.
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Old 10-12-2008, 12:29 PM   #7
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Hi Debbie,

Sounds like you are seeing the A-coil/evaporator coil for a central cooling system. Even though you do not have central cooling, a coil is sometimes installed at the furance making future A.C. add-ons a little easier.

Does the V shaped thing you are seeing look like it has alumium fins on it ,which when slightly preesed on bend over?

If this is a A-coil and you can get a fine wire brush up in there to clean it then it's a good idea. Try not to bend the alumium fins over or it will cause a restiction in the system thus preventing the required air flow at the heat exchanger.

I have seen A-coils so dirty that they cause freezing-up the A.C. systems and tripping high limits at the furnace for the heating circuits.
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:05 PM   #8
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Dirty furnace-how to clean?


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Originally Posted by Gargecko View Post
Hi Debbie,

Sounds like you are seeing the A-coil/evaporator coil for a central cooling system. Even though you do not have central cooling, a coil is sometimes installed at the furance making future A.C. add-ons a little easier.

Does the V shaped thing you are seeing look like it has alumium fins on it ,which when slightly preesed on bend over?

If this is a A-coil and you can get a fine wire brush up in there to clean it then it's a good idea. Try not to bend the alumium fins over or it will cause a restiction in the system thus preventing the required air flow at the heat exchanger.

I have seen A-coils so dirty that they cause freezing-up the A.C. systems and tripping high limits at the furnace for the heating circuits.
That would be my assumption also.

So at this point a good cleaning is needed.

Now for the bad news. If you bend the very delicate fins you will do some serious damage to the system and restrict air flow.

My suggestion is that you get a pro in there to clean the coil. They have the tools and most of all they have the knowledge and experience to do it without damaging the fins.

Filters are cheap. Change them every month or two when the furnace is active. Less often in the summer when it is not used as much.

Set an event in your calendar to check the filter every month.
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:12 PM   #9
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I always get caught on these A/H. We don't use them much here at all.
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:26 PM   #10
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I always get caught on these A/H. We don't use them much here at all.
I got air handlers(used for electric furnaces), gas(NG and LP) furnaces, oil furnaces, gas(NG and LP) boilers, oil boilers, heat pumps, dual fuel heat pumps, A/Cs, electric baseboard, and Off peak storage systems.

Almost forgot, Geo's.
I don't work on Geo's much though.


Never know what you might be called out to work on in my area.
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Old 10-12-2008, 02:02 PM   #11
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Dirty furnace-how to clean?


beenthere, I have read a lot of your posts at HVAC Talk, nice to see you here.
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Old 10-12-2008, 02:04 PM   #12
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beenthere, I have read a lot of your posts at HVAC Talk, nice to see you here.

Thank you.
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:19 PM   #13
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Dirty furnace-how to clean?


Hey, I think we're good! To clean the furnace, I turned off the furnace toggle switch, flipped the fuse switches to 'off', and removed the front panel to the furnace (developing carpal tunnel removing all those screws!!). All those copper colored pipes and wiring (which looked like the engine to Mario Andretti's race car!) was pretty intimidating, but after studying it a few minutes, I saw what needed cleaning could slide out towards me. I used the soft brush attachment to my vacuum cleaner and went to work.

'Gargecko' and 'Marvin Gardens', I now see what you meant about the aluminum fins. I didn't know what those were, but when I switched from the brush to the narrow crevice attachment to get to the hard to reach areas, I did bend just a few of those little fins. (I hope I haven't hurt anything!)

When the furnace was put back together with the new filter in place, we held our breath and turned it on. It sounded so much better, the air was flowing pretty good, and the house seemed to heat up much more quickly. So, again, I think we're good....I hope!

Thanks to all of you who responded for your advice and clear directions. It was much appreciated! You are a wonderful resource to people like me!

Feeling warmer in Seattle,
Debbie
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:24 PM   #14
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A quick question.

Since you don't have A/C. Meaning there are no external lines hooked to the coil.
Why not just remove the coil. Store it in a safe place.

With the coil removed. Your blower motor won't work as hard to move the air.
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:28 PM   #15
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>>she did say the coil wasn't being used...duuhh..I am thinking heat pump.

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