The trees have shed their leaves, the days are getting shorter, and cold weather is going to be here to stay – with predictions of a very cold winter too. Is your furnace prepared to get you through the winter and keep you and your family warm?
Your gas or propane furnace is one of the most important investments and equipment in your home, but how do you know when it’s time to replace it – before repairs cost you more than a replacement or it becomes unsafe. You’ll likely notice some warning signs that indicate a replacement is needed. Here are just a few to keep an eye out for.
Your furnace is getting on in age. The average life expectancy for a furnace is between 16 and 20 years. If your furnace is getting close to its life expectancy, then it may be time to start shopping around and saving for a replacement. Waiting for an emergency to happen won’t allow you much time to properly save and compare your different options. Having your system properly serviced each year will allow a qualified technician to properly assess the condition of your furnace and make any recommendations for repairs or replacement.
Your energy bills are going up. Have you noticed that your energy usage has increased? As your furnace ages it loses it efficiency, especially if your unit has not been properly maintained. It may run longer using more fuel to provide the same amount of heat it once used to.
The repairs don’t stop. Furnaces are similar to vehicles. They require routine maintenance and as they age you may replace several parts to keep it running, only to have to make new repairs in a few months or year. Even multiple small repairs can add up to big bucks over time. As your furnace ages, it could take longer to get much needed parts that aren’t in stock as well – which may be costly as well as leaving you and your family in the cold for a night or two.
You need to keep adjusting the thermostat. Do some rooms feel too cold and others too hot? Do you feel like you need to keep adjusting the thermostat up and down to keep your home comfortable. Uneven heating is a sign that your furnace isn’t able to properly distribute and regulate the heat in your home to keep you comfortable.
Your flame is yellow. If you use propane or natural gas you could run the risk of higher than normal carbon monoxide emission if your furnace has seen better days. A yellow or flickering flame could indicate that your furnace is emitting poisonous carbon monoxide. Other signs include streaks of soot around the unit, excessive moisture on walls, windows, or cold surfaces, excessive rusting on flue pipes, the absence of an upward draft in your chimney, or water leaking from the base of the chimney, vent, or flue pipe. Make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home and one near your furnace. Signs of exposure to carbon monoxide include headaches, burning eyes or nose, nausea, disorientation, and flu like symptoms. Get immediate medical attention and contact a service technician ASAP.
Your furnace is making some weird noises. As furnaces age, they start to make some strange banging, popping, and rattling noises. You may also hear your blower turning on and off more frequently. Contact a service technician to see what your options may be or how much longer your furnace will remain operational.
Your home is overly dry and dusty. Furnaces that are getting on in age lack the ability to moisturize and clean the air in your home. Along with a stuffy and stale feeling, other signs may be above average dust accumulation, static shocks, drooping plants, furniture cracking and musical instruments that do not stay in tune. They might seem like small warning signs, but these small observations can suggest that your furnace isn’t up to snuff when it comes to heating your home. A service technician can help you identify if there are any fixes that could help your furnace last a little longer.
Although a new propane or natural gas furnace seems like a substantial cost of being a homeowner, it can also be seen as a long-term investment. Not only will it make your home more energy efficient – saving you money on fuel, but it’s a great upgrade that adds value to your home should you decide to sell it in the near future.
If you aren’t sure how old your system is, how well it was serviced, or when it needs to be replaced, give us a call and one of our trained service technicians can assist you and provide you options to keep you safe and warm this Winter.