It is getting cold, so that means it is 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 will not last forever. Here is a checklist to help you identify the warning signs that you may need a new furnace. If you ultimately do need a new furnace, check out our guide to new furnace costs to help you prepare.
1. Furnace is More Than 15 Years Old
Although it would be nice if your furnace lasted forever, its average lifespan is between 15 and 20 years. If you’ve had your furnace for less than 15 years, make sure you do proper maintenance according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Once your furnace reaches 15 to 20 years of age, it’s time to start paying close attention to any abnormal functions, sounds, and smells. If any of these occur, call a qualified technician to diagnose the problem—they can tell you about how long your furnace will last.
2. Increased Heating Bill
Many factors may cause your heating bills to increase, from leaky ductwork to rising energy costs to colder-than-usual winters. However, your furnace could also be to blame. Schedule a furnace repair to pinpoint the problem. A little maintenance and cleaning could be all you need to restore lower heating bills.
Still, if your furnace is getting old, its performance will only continue to decline. Remember, you could put the money you spend on excessive heating bills toward a high-efficiency replacement furnace.
3. Cold Spots
It might seem obvious, but a furnace that’s not heating your home is a warning sign of imminent furnace failure. It could be a number of different problems causing this, but most often it has to do with the motor in the blower fan. If the blower fan is malfunctioning, the furnace doesn’t have enough power to blow air throughout the home. This can cause cold spots in some parts of the home. If your furnace isn’t blowing any warm air at all, it may be a problem with the heat exchanger or pilot light. This is something a qualified technician will need to take a look at, to see if there’s any repair that can be completed.
4. The Heater Has Required Multiple Repairs Recently
Furnaces break down most often during the last two years of their lives. Before long, it becomes evident that keeping your old, inefficient furnace running is no longer worth the cost. The next time you’re faced with an expensive repair—perhaps the third or fourth in two years—seriously consider the cost benefits of replacing the unit instead of fixing it.
5. Strange Noises
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, or even the lower furnace motor not being properly balanced.
- 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, deteriorating belt, or an issue with the pulley holding the belt.
- Popping: This happens when parts inside of your furnace 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.
As cold weather approaches, it is important to take a few preventative measures to protect your home through the chilly months. Winterizing is generally a task that can be done relatively inexpensively, but will make a big difference in how comfortable your home is, and could end up saving you money on energy bills, too. In fact, many very effective home weatherproofing jobs are something that homeowners can complete without professional help.
If your system needs repair or inspection before winter, call us at 951-926-1002. You can also visit our Contact page and complete the contact form.