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How To Know When To Replace Your Furnace

If you have a natural gas or oil furnace, there are some warning signs you should be watching out for as they may indicate your furnace needs to be replaced. Ideally, you should do the replacement early before it is too late. A snowy, freezing-cold winter night is not the time to start looking at flaws in your heating system. It is always good to be prepared, and having the right information can be incredibly helpful in the decision-making process. Below are warning signs to tell you it’s time to replace your furnace. Obviously, not all these warning signs apply to some furnaces, but you can use them as general indicators of the condition of your furnace:

1. Age of Your Furnace

It is important you compare the age of your furnace to the national average. Today, the national average life expectancy of furnaces is 16 to 20 years. If your furnace is close to the national average life expectancy for furnaces, you should start planning for a replacement. Trying to find a replacement when you are faced with an emergency can lead to serious mistakes. Many homeowners often prefer replacing their furnace as part of a planned home improvement project as opposed to a panic replacement when the furnace is already failing. The typical life expectancy of a warm air furnace may be affected by the operating environment of the furnace; so it is recommended you have your furnace regularly serviced by a highly-qualified technician. HVAC professionals can easily assess the condition of a furnace and make great recommendations.

2. High Energy Bills

Increased energy bills are a sure sign your furnace has become obsolete. Please note that the energy efficiency of furnaces usually decrease over time as the unit ages, especially if there is lack of proper maintenance. As a result, your furnace will have to burn more oil or natural gas and run for longer to meet your space heating needs. This will significantly increase your energy costs. If you have recently had to spend more money than necessary on energy bills, you should think about replacing your furnace as high energy bills are an indication of a failing furnace.

3. Frequent Furnace Repairs

Furnaces are machines like any other. Just like cars, furnaces have parts that need to be replaced now and then. Different components may need to be replaced from time to time. If you have an old oil or gas furnace, you may find yourself spending over $500 within a short period of time. It is a known fact that furnaces usually break down most frequently in their last two years of their lives. If your furnace has been breaking down frequently over the last two years and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find spare parts, now may be time to replace the furnace. Waiting for replacement parts can be torturous when temperatures are below zero.

4. Uneven Room Temperatures

If some rooms in your home are cooler than others, and you have had to adjust the thermostat severally to improve home comfort, you should consider replacing your furnace. Older furnaces cannot properly distribute air-conditioned air in your home.

5. Is the Color of the Burner Flame Yellow and Not Blue?

Natural gas and propane furnaces should burn with a blue flame, and not yellow. If the burner flame in your furnace is yellow, this may be a sign of incomplete combustion taking place. The furnace may be producing carbon monoxide, which is poisonous. Forced air furnaces and oil-fired boilers are less likely to produce carbon monoxide, especially if they are serviced regularly. The following are signs your furnace is producing carbon monoxide, according to Tek Climate Langley:

  • Rust on a section of the exterior walls of your vent pipe
  • Soot around the furnace
  • Excessive rusting on appliance jacks, pipe connections, and flue pipes
  • Excessive moisture on walls, windows, and cold surfaces
  • Lack of upward draft into the chimney
  • Water leaks from the base of the chimney, flue pipe or vent

Always remember to monitor your heating system for the above-mentioned signs. Your home should also have well-maintained carbon monoxide detectors.

6. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A sure sign you need to replace your furnace is the presence of carbon monoxide in your home. If the heat exchanger of your furnace has cracked, carbon monoxide will leak into your home and cause serious problems. Some common signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include; nausea, flu-like symptoms, disorientation, burning to feel in the eyes and nose, and frequent headaches, among others. If you or any member of your family exhibits any of these signs and symptoms, be sure to vacate the house and call your HVAC contractor to come and inspect the furnace. If the heat exchanger has cracked, be sure to install a replacement.

7. Unusual Noises From the Furnace

As furnaces age and approach the end of their life, they usually start producing strange noises. This includes; rattling, popping, banging, and squealing noises. If your furnace has been producing unusual noises, now may be time to get a replacement. The noise may be caused by blower fans running at excessive speeds. If the blower also turns on and off now and then, you should consider installing a new furnace.

8. Poor Indoor Air Quality

Old heating systems do not have the ability to filter air efficiently and moisturize it. If your furnace produces dry air containing a lot of dust or airborne impurities, you should think about installing a replacement. Contaminated dry air can easily cause allergies as they may have dander, viruses, pollen, mold, and dust. These impurities can settle on the tabletops and leaves of indoor plants. If there is a lot of dust in your home and you frequently have allergic episodes, you should consider upgrading your furnace. Be sure to get in touch with our team to get advice on whether or not to replace your furnace.

Is It Time For A New Furnace?

When you have dealt with blackouts, storms, below zero temperatures and piles of snow, you begin to take notice of the all-important but never completely forgotten furnace.

A furnace is most commonly purchased and replaced every 15-25 years, but your HVAC system is the essential heat source for six months a year.

How do you know when your furnace has seen its last days and is ready to quit once and for all?

There are some indications that a furnace is nearing the end of its life cycle and if you know these indicators, you know whether your furnace has some time left or if you need to be looking for a good replacement.

How old is your HVAC, and has it been well-maintained?

If your furnace has been taken care of properly, it can last for up to 25 years. But that is ONLY if it has been well maintained. Have you changed the filters at least once a season? Do you have it inspected every six months to a year? Do you clean the furnace fan and blower regularly? If you do so, and your furnace seems to be running okay, you may get 25 years out of it. However, if the maintenance has not been done regularly, you may get as few as 10 or 15 years out of your HVAC system.

Can the problems be taken care of with inexpensive fixes?

If your furnace is in relatively good condition but needs some repair work, you might want to pay for the fix rather than a replacement. While a fan may cost $600, if that is the only problem and other parts are running well, it may make sense to replace the fan rather than buy a $5,000 furnace. If your furnace will need more fixes in a few years’ time and it is already getting old, paying to have a high-efficiency model installed will probably be the better option.

Knowing when to pay for repairs rather than give up and have a new furnace installed isn’t always a simple task. Some signs of a furnace going downhill fast include temperature differences, fast cycling, loud noises, and excessive dust.

Wide temperature variations in different rooms of your home that are not due to insulation problems is a sign that more problems are coming. A furnace that turns off and on more and more frequently is struggling to keep the temperatures even. A noisy furnace is already feeling the pain and screaming for help. Excessive dust and dirt on walls, floors, and furniture is a common sign that your furnace is getting old. If you add up the cost of repairs and find that you will spend a thousand in a couple of years, then you should realize that is 20 percent of the cost of a new furnace with much better efficiency.