A Tidy Toolbox­

Thankfully, because you are just cleaning your furnace and not performing any repairs, you should have most of the tools you need in your toolbox (remember, you'll need a vacuum, too). You might also want to grab an old rag or two to wipe down the outside of your furnace as well. Chances are you’re saving yourself hundreds of dollars by performing this regular cleaning yourself with supplies you already own, instead of paying a repairman [source: Taylor].­

Tools Needed to Clean a Furnace

­As with just about any do-it-yourself job, the specific tools needed to complete the work can vary depending on the task. When cleaning a furnace, the actual cleaning process -- and tools needed -- should not really vary too much from the ones listed below. As mentioned earlier, you will likely need a screwdriver to remove the safety panel from the front of your furnace to perform the cleaning.

As you get comfortable with cleaning your furnace, you might find some tools listed below work better than others, depending on your model. The tools listed below are just a starting point on what is needed to clean your furnace. Use what works best for you.

The tools needed to clean most furnaces include:

  • Vacuum
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpicks
  • Cotton swabs
  • Scrub brushes
  • Replacement filters (if you use disposable filters)
  • Rags [source: Halas]

When using a vacuum for this job, it is best to select one with removable attachments. An upright vacuum without a hose is going to be almost useless here, as you want to vacuum debris in various small nooks and crannies of the furnace, not just the actual filter. Have multiple toothpicks and cotton swabs to get in the smallest of areas, and scrub brushes of various sizes will be best to get all of the vents.

Now to the important stuff -- how to clean your furnace. Read on.