Starting furnace after being off for 3 years

OK, here's my long tail... er, tale....
I'm doing some fix-up work at a house, and learned that the furnace has been off for 3 years. The furnace is in a closet next to the water heater. Both sit on a raised section in the closet about a foot from the floor. The furnace draws air from the hallway through an enclosed box that is underneath both furnace and water heater.
It turns out that the water heater had leaked and was then drained and disconnected, and a new water heater was installed in the garage. I didn't see any sign of water damage inside, outside or from underneath, and don't see or smell any mold anywhere, including in the box.
Still, I'm hesitating firing up the furnace because I don't want it to spread any spores through the ducts and into the rest of the house. If the house was empty, I would open the windows and run it long enough to purge it out. But the house is being lived in with the usual furniture, etc.
So what I'm thinking of doing is closing all the vents and sealing them except the one nearest the furnace, and then connecting a large OD hose from the vent to outside thru a window. Then emptying a few cans of Lysol into the intake area and running just the blower for awhile. Then turn on the furnace and run that for awhile. Then seal that vent, and repeat the fan & furnace with the next closest vent, until all the ducts are purged.
I first tried rigging up a box to cover the vent with a vacuum cleaner hose, and then running the vacuum, but the blower puts out way more air than the vacuum can handle.
Anyway, that's my story. Does anyone have any ideas of a better way to be sure the ducts get reasonably dust-free?
Thanks in advance!
SJ
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On Mon, 15 Dec 2014 23:08:53 -0800, "Sasquatch Jones"
air than the vacuum can handle.

Personally, I'd just change the furnace filters, wipe out the furnace and try to wipe out the inside of the blower as much as possible (with the power off), and then start the furnace. Just because the furnace has been off dont mean the ducts fill with dust.
But if this is a real concern for you, there are companies that do duct cleaning. That would remove everything that has built up over the years. But it may be costly ??? Call them and find out!
A bigger concern is to be sure the burner is not leaking carbon monoxide. Get a Carbon Monoxide detector or have a furnace guy look at it. If this is an oil furnace the oil filter and nozzle could be clogged.
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On 12/16/2014 03:22 AM, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote:

Yep. Check the heat exchanger.
Vacuum everything out and put in a new filter.
CO detector is a generally good idea.
BTW: I did have a professional service clean the ducts once . Don't recall the price but it was not too steep.
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On Tuesday, December 16, 2014 4:23:03 AM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote:

I would just do a filter change and normal service inspection. I wouldn't wipe out anything. For one thing, you can't get to enough of anything inside the furnace air system that it matters. Second, as you say, just because it's been off, doesn't mean the furnace is going to somehow fill with dust. Dust has to come from somewhere and get in there.

I agree. They can clean the ducts, but even they aren't going to get inside most of the air handler of the furnace. Just because the WH was leaking, if there is no damage around the WH, no mold visible, etc, that wouldn't make me worry about the furnace ducts. If he's worried, how about taking some grills, registers off and taking a look? Any evidence of mold or abnormal dust in the filters, in the easily visible part of the blower compartment?
And if there is a problem, I doubt the lysol approach is going to do much to solve it. I'd also be concerned about choking off almost the whole system and trying to run the blower.

Yes, normal inspection is what I'd do. I'd expect you'd get a little smell of some kind on the first start. I notice that sometimes. But absent some reason to really expect trouble, I doubt there is going to be a problem.
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On Mon, 15 Dec 2014 23:08:53 -0800, "Sasquatch Jones"
That should work.
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On 12/16/2014 7:40 AM, CRNG wrote:

The problem with that approach is that the occupants will end up evacuating the house, gasping for breath from the Lysol fumes. Seriously. It's a bad idea. Just clean the furnace and the ductwork, forget about any kind of antifungal treatment whether DIY or professional. The EPA does not recommend them.
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Aren't mold spores practically everywhere anyhow? Mold is not like ants, who send out scouts looking for something to eat, and then notify the hill when they find something.
AIUI if there were mold anywhere in the house, or the neighborhood, , spores would already be everywhere in the house. But the mold ony grows where the environment is suitable. The reason it grows where the environment is suitable is that were spores there in the first place.
And even if the mold grew where the water heater was, all the water dried up a long time ago and the mold died. That a wall is still black doesn't mean the mold is alive. Mold doesn't have pall bearers or family who come and paint a wall white again.
So there are no more spores in the ducts than there are in the rest of the house, the same air they'r e breathing now.
AFAIK.
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On Tue, 16 Dec 2014 05:26:41 -0800 (PST), trader_4

I woundn't even consider that Lysol, that odor might never go away.
On the other hand, why not wipe out the furnace. When I moved into my house, the furnace area around the blower was filthy. I bucket of water, sponge and a little dish soap cleaned it really nice in a half hour. On my case, I removed the blower, took it outdoors and hosed it out. I did nothing with the ducts except vacuum inside each register. Most what I found was small parts of kids toys, and a few coins.
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On Wednesday, December 17, 2014 4:01:48 AM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote:

I doubt that with most furnaces today you could remove the blower, hose it out and put it back together in half an hour. And it seems fairly pointless anyway. All you're getting at is a small part of the furnace, none of the duct system. Even in the furnace, there is a lot more than the blower. The heat exchanger is usually totally inaccessible
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wrote:

We live in a society filled with fear. Much is based on lies and exaggerations based on advertisers wanting to get our money. Molds have been around since the beginning of time. You cant avoid them. Sure, there are some proven to be harmful by scientists and medical people, but only certain molds. They have been around forever too, but it's because of tight sealed newer homes concentrating them (which is one reason I'd not want to cover my walls with plastic sheeting, under the sheetrock). [Just my personal choice].
Before over reacting to molds, and even asbestos and stuff like that, get FACTUAL information, not bullshit created by advertisers. After all, there appears to be big money to be made, if these companies find a sucker to pay them to dress up in all sorts of space suits, and hang plastic all over your home, and in the end, run a vacuum cleaner. I often wonder how much of this is just putting on an theatrical act, versus really doing something useful.
If the OP has had a leak which caused black mold (that seems to be the bad one), then have a reputible company test for problems, and be sure they are certified and all of that. Then remove the decayed material and repair. If there was no problem to start with, why fear something that is normal. People who live in a totally sterile enclosure will be the first ones to become severely ill if there is a flood, hurricane damage, etc. You need to be immune to these natural molds and stuff, by normal small daily doses. Same as how a flu vaccine works, you get a small dose so your body builds up immunity.
So, unless there is a problem, just change the filters, clean the furnace, and check the registers. If the ducts are filthy, have one of those companies clean them. Clean them mostly just to remove the dirt, not being so concerned about molds and so on. If nothing else, cleaning the ducts will reduce dusting stuff in the house. All of this depends on the age of the hoem, cleanliness of previous owners, and other stuff.
My house had a leak in one place and there was some black mold. As soon as I moved in, I opened all the windows in summer, blew a fan outward and removed the bad sheetrock, wood, insulation, and other materials. Any wood that remained inside the walls that looked a little moldy, I washed with strong bleach water. Then I repaired the stuff and vacuumed/cleaned the house or any remaining dirt as well as sawdust and stuff from doing the repair. Every spring I like to completely air the house out by opening windows and blowing a fan outward. My parents did it, and I used to think everyone did it.
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The OP said there was no sign of anything out of the ordinary, he/she certainly did not see any Black Mold.
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Wrote:

Sure,

people,

chlorine

while

Did the ozone corrode the ducts or other metal surfaces in the house?
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Levels were not extreme enough. Some rooms got separate treatment. Hvac ran as normal, mostly cold months. You could get fairly high smelly fresh ozone, but the ozone is easy to smell without being corrosive. Chlorine dioxide can cause bleaching near dispensers.
Greg
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Snuffy \Hub Cap\ McKinney;3323076 Wrote: >

No, ozone won't affect metals.
Yes, you can breathe ozone, but it's unhealthy. The ozone will attack the tissues in your throat and lungs.
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nestork


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On Wed, 17 Dec 2014 03:01:01 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote:

If your heating ducts are infested with kids toys, you may eventually be overwhelmed by toys growing in the corners of the closets.
OTOH, if the coins multiply fast enough, that's a very good thing.

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On Thu, 18 Dec 2014 23:21:07 +0100, nestork

Dont those ultraviolet light devices sold for going behind the furnace filters, generate ozone? If not, what do they do?
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They generally produce some ozone, but not that much. Uv kills upon exposure. Some water treatment plants use large uv lamps to purify water. ozone generators just use high voltage ac corona on plates and use fans or pumps.
Greg
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