It’s starting to get cold, so that means it’s time to make sure your furnace is up to the task of keeping you warm this winter. As with most things in life, however, your furnace won’t last forever. Here is a checklist to help you identify the warning signs that you may need a new furnace.
Your furnace is more than 15 years old.
A modern furnace has a typical lifespan of around 12-15 years. While it is advisable to consider planning ahead for a new one at around the 12-year mark, there are also plenty of ways to make sure you get the most out of your existing furnace.
For starters, be sure you’ve scheduled annual preventative maintenance to ensure burners are cleaned, heat exchangers are safe and make sure you swap out dirty, clogged filters for clean ones that allow for proper airflow.
If you’re looking to save money on your heating bills, one of the most obvious ways is to turn the heat down and wear extra layers. A programmable thermostat can be very helpful too. All you need to do is program the thermostat to drop the temperature when you’re either asleep or at work. You can also seal areas within your home that leak heat, such as doors and windows. Alternatively, you can invest in a new, high efficiency furnace or heat pump system.
Your energy bills and equipment repairs are steadily increasing.
Older furnaces have to work harder to produce heat, and as a result, your energy bills and repair costs steadily increase. Even if there isn’t a noticeable repair that needs to be made, you’ll still come out cheaper in the long run if you purchase a more efficient furnace unit.
The rooms throughout your home are different temperatures.
As a furnace gets older, it can become more and more inefficient until it loses the ability to distribute heat evenly throughout the house. As a result, some rooms can be colder than others. Newer models with variable speed blower motors and staged heat can help to alleviate hot and cold spots in the home, bringing more even comfort throughout the home.
Your home has soot around the registers.
A furnace register is a ventilation duct cover that can be opened and closed. Although the terms “register” and “grille” are used interchangeably, registers differ from furnace grilles due to possessing dampers which allow them to control the airflow within a duct.
If you find soot around these areas within your home, then it means that your furnace is experiencing incomplete combustion and is not burning correctly or safely. Difficulty keeping a clean house aside, this can cause excessive dryness which can damage furniture, flooring and plants. It can also cause itchy throats, dry eyes, as well as respiratory issues when inhaled. If you ever see a build-up of soot near your registers, it’s probably time to get a replacement.
Your furnace is extra noisy.
Furnaces can be kind of noisy, but if that noise gets louder over time, then you may want to consider a replacement. Possible telltale signs can come in the form of:
- Rattling: This can indicate unsecured ductwork, loose screws, sheet metal, the blower motor not being properly balanced, or possibly bad bearings in a exhaust motor.
- Popping: This happens when parts inside of your furnace (heat exchangers, duct work, etc.) heat and cool in response to temperature changes.
- Humming: Your fan motor is probably going to make a bit of noise, but if it’s to the point of disruption, you might need a furnace blower motor replacement. Transformers within the equipment can also make a humming noise.
Screeching/Squealing: If you hear these noises, you should probably assume your blower motor or inducer is damaged or worn out. It could also be caused by a loose bearing or water build up in the exhaust motor of a high efficiency system.
If you hear, smell, or see something in your furnace or heat pump that seems out of place or different than what seems normal, it is advised to call the experts at Lifetime Heating and Air Conditioning to determine the root cause of the problem and identify the appropriate corrective action.
As always, annual preventive maintenance does prevent unexpected and frustrating after hours calls. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Benjamin Franklin
Call or visit us online at (425) 553-4328 or www.lifetimeheating.com for any questions or concerns with your home’s heating or cooling equipment.