As the cold season is in full effect and your furnace is under the spotlight. Now that the temperature has dropped, your furnace-use has likely skyrocketed to keep your home and your water warm enough to survive. Unfortunately, just like every other major appliance you love in your house, your furnace doesn’t get any younger. Whether this thought has occurred to you already or not, something could go wrong with your furnace that warrants a repair call or a replacement furnace altogether. Here’s four indicators that its time to repair or replace your furnace:
Typically, the average lifespan of a furnace is 15-20 years, but higher quality furnaces that have been well maintained may extend far beyond that. This first issue may seem obvious, but we’ve found that not many people can answer how old their furnace truly is. Rule of thumb dictates that if your furnace is old enough to acquire its own driver’s license and go to prom with another beautiful furnace, it is probably time for a replacement.
If the age is getting up there, usually after year 10, it is most likely reasonable to assume that you may be in store to repair or replace your furnace pretty soon, especially if no maintenance work has been done previously. Parts get old and rust/corrosion takes its toll. Also, it’s important to dig out your furnace warranty information and maintenance history. Some furnace warranties extend as long as 20 years, so check your warranty, whatever service you need may be covered.
This may come as a shock, but your furnace does not double as a percussion instrument. The only noise it should be making is the low grumble it exudes when it is cycling, similar to a reluctant family member who forgot to do a chore. Bangs, scrapes, booms, screeches, thumps, or any other array of comic book onomatopoeia should be treated as a sign that a repair or assessment call needs to be made as quickly as possible. Noises coming from your furnace can be attributed to any number of issues but if it is particularly loud and disrupting when turning on it may be a sign of a serious safety issue that should be addressed straightaway.
Is your monthly heating bill becoming an increasing burden? If so, your furnace may be to blame. In the past furnaces were far less efficient than today’s best models. Many furnaces common in homes have efficiency ratings (the amount of fuel that is turned into heat) that are in the ~70 percentiles. The most efficient options today have ratings as high as 98.5%.
An increased heating bill without increased use is almost certainly indicative of a furnace in need of repair. You will want to act on this realization as quickly as possible, or turn your furnace off altogether, for every second this furnace is running you are paying for resources that you are not necessarily in need of. The main culprit of this problem can usually be traced to the ductwork within the furnace, but that’s not to say it couldn’t be a plethora of other reasons. A repair should be able to take care of the issue, but in some less frequent cases you may end up having to start shopping for a new furnace depending on how severe the issue.
Sight and Smell
As you’ve probably guessed by now, a furnace in distress can mostly be noticed by you in the moment. We’ve already covered hearing, but often times visual and auditory cues will key you in that something’s wrong. Two liquids pooling around your furnace that you’ll be able to see and know that something is wrong are water and gas. One of these things is a lot more dangerous to have pooling than the other, but either way you will want to notify your contractor about the issue immediately. If you smell gas, odds are the furnace is leaking gas but you just can’t see it. In both cases if you can see or smell gas, you will want to turn off your furnace as well as its gas supply valve in that moment. Especially if it is leaking gas, your home could be at risk if not treated appropriately and right away
If you’ve concluded that a new furnace is necessary, it’s not all bad news, and may be a long-term win. You can ensure your home is equipped with a safe, quiet, warrantied and efficient furnace that results in lower monthly heating costs, no unexpected repair bills, higher home resale value and greater peace of mind.