No matter how dedicated you are about taking care of your furnace, the time will come when the service man will utter the five dreaded words: “You need a new furnace.” Since replacing your heating and air-conditioning system is a costly proposition, no homeowner wants to hear those words. However, furnace technology has improved considerably over the years, so buying a new product can benefit you with better efficiency and possible even lower heating bills. New units are also smaller and guaranteed to last a long time.
Signs Of Impending Furnace Failure
How do you know you need a new furnace rather than just a repair? There are several signs to look for, so ask yourself:
- How old is your furnace? With an average life expectancy of 16 to 20 years, your furnace may need replacement when it approaches that age.
- Are your gas and electric bills going up? Though the power companies have regular rate increases that influence the amount of your bills, an inefficient furnace uses more fuel to power the element and run the blower. Have bills increased out of proportion to rate increases?
- Are you comfortable in every room of your house? If you have to constantly adjust your thermostat to feel comfortable, your furnace might be losing its ability able to distribute air properly throughout the home.
- Have you had to make several repairs in the last couple years? Many furnaces start to break down about two years before they give out. If you're on a first name basis with you service person or he has trouble finding parts, consider that the writing on the wall.
- Is your furnace flame yellow instead of blue? Yellow flames may indicate that your furnace is creating carbon monoxide. You may also see excess moisture around windows, walls or other cold surfaces, rusting on the flue pipes or vent pipes, streaks of sort around the furnace, or feel no upward draft to the chimney
- Is your furnace making strange noises? Furnaces seldom make squealing, rattling, popping, or banging noises when they are operating correctly. Furnaces on the way out are noisy, and their blowers run frequently, even expelling cold air.
- Have you noticed unexplained patterns of headaches, burning in the eyes or nose, nausea, disorientation, or flulike symptoms? Older furnaces may develop cracks in the heat exchangers that invite carbon monoxide to enter your home. If you or family members complain of these symptoms, you need to take immediate action by opening a window near the furnace unit and calling for service.
- Is your home dry or dusty? Working in conjunction with air and furnace filters, your furnace should blow clean, moisturized air throughout your home. If changing your filters or adding an air filtration system does not help, you might need a new furnace. If you experience furniture cracking, drooping plants, static shocks, or a large accumulation of dust, a new furnace might be in your near future.
If your unit still has a pilot light instead of an electronic ignition, that's a sure sign it's old. Even though you are still able to get parts for it, you should start planning for a replacement rather than having it die on the coldest day in January. Though a new unit can be costly, you can recoup the costs in lower heating bills, fewer repair bills, and maybe even better health.
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