When Does A Furnace Require Replacing?

All appliances have a definite lifespan beyond which their efficiency starts deteriorating. At such times it is always wise to replace them. Although replacing will cost a bit of money, putting up with an inefficient furnace will also be heavy for your pocket. It will generate fat utility bills and produce insufficient comfort. But how would you know that your furnace needs a replacement. Here are some of the major warning signs-

Age of your furnace

According to national average, the life expectancy of furnace is 15 to 20 years. If your furnace has crossed this age or is nearing it, start shopping for a new one. If you sit till the time it breaks down, you will not be able to make the best of buying decisions. Under an emergency you will be in a hurry to get a new unit.

Utility bills shooting high

It is very important to keep a tab on this. The rising fuel prices are not necessarily the reason for high utility bills. Fat bills can come because your furnace is working harder and longer to give the desired output. Replace your furnace as the extra money you are paying for the fuel can easily be invested in buying a new unit. Sometimes getting the furnace serviced by a professional also resolves the problem. A 20-year old furnace can often generate repair bills of $180. It is a smarter decision to buy a new furnace for $1,500.

The chart gives approximate fuel costs according to varying efficiency of a furnace –

The frequency of repairs

The furnace requires most of the repairs in the last couple of years of its life. During this time you will see that if you replace a part of the unit, another part will require replacing just after a few months. Another alarming sign is that during these replacements it can take time to get the new part. There could be two reasons for this. One is that the furnace has become so obsolete that the parts are hard to find. Also the parts are quite vital ones which take time to get shipped.

The furnace not cooling uniformly

Sometimes you will find that the furnace is overheating some rooms while other rooms stay comparatively cooler. It is a sign that furnace is unable to distribute heat evenly, it is better replace such a furnace.

Yellow flame from the pilot light

This is sign of carbon monoxide (CO) emission by your furnace. Other symptoms of CO emission are patches of soot around furnace. The exhausts will backdraft down the chimney. You will find too much moisture on windows, walls, or other cold surfaces; water will leak from the base of chimney and pipes and other components will start rusting. Inmates of the house can suffer frequent headaches, a feeling of burn in nose or eyes, nausea, disorientation, flu-like symptoms. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, call a gas repair technician immediately. CO poisoning often happens due to an inefficient furnace. The heat exchanger cracks, which is hard to be detected with naked eyes. Cracked exchanger can result in CO poisoning, it is always better to replace the furnace in such conditions.

Noisy furnace

Another sign of an aging furnace are the noises that are emanating from it. If you hear banging, popping, rattling, or squealing noises coming from your furnace, these are signs of age. Sometimes the blowers will blow cool wind or they will operate intermittently. An inefficient furnace starts putting out excessive dust, soot, and dirt or rust particles.

Dry or dusty house

An efficient furnace should moisturize and clean the air in your home. If you feel that inside atmosphere of your house is stuffy or stale or people are often falling sick then get your furnace inspected. You will see frequent dust accumulation, static shocks, drooping plants, furniture cracking and musical instruments due to an inefficient furnace that is not able to maintain correct humidity level.

AFUE Rating

Consult a professional before replacing your inefficient furnace. A professional will use a rating called AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) to assess its efficiency. If your AFUE rating is below 80%, it is time to replace your furnace with a more efficient model.



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