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9 Signs That Your Furnace Is About to Break Down

Posted On: October 19, 2016

Replacing a heating system in the middle of a cold northeastern Pennsylvania, southern New York, or north Jersey winter is no fun at all. Also, the cost to replace the heating system in an emergency situation may be higher than a well-planned furnace replacement. Asking yourself the questions in this guide will help you decide to schedule any needed furnace repairs or plan for the best time to replace your furnace or boiler. Hopefully this will help you avoid “furnace not working” problems!

For furnace replacement or furnace repair in NY, NJ, and PA contact SOS Xtreme Comfort for fast, reliable service!

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1) How old is your furnace?

The typical lifespan for furnaces that have been properly installed and maintained is approximately 12 to 15 years. Older heating systems will start needing more frequent repairs. Additionally, the efficiency of all or heating systems will decrease. If your heating system is beginning to need replacement parts and repairs, it is probably a good idea to start thinking about a replacement.

2) Heating bill too high?

There are several factors that may lead to an increase in your annual fuel utility bills. First, the cost of the fuel may be increasing. As we all know, gas, propane and oil prices fluctuate month to month and day today (which is why we offer price protection for heating oil in NY, NJ, and PA). The second factor that could cause an increase in annual heating expenses is a decrease in the efficiency of your heating system. Heating systems begin to lose efficiencies as they age. Instead of piling on blankets, a way to reduce heating costs could be scheduling a furnace replacement to upgrade to a more efficient system.

When you see increases in your average heating bill, coupled with an aging furnace, it may be time to start considering replacement.

3) Is your pilot light color blue?

gas burner flameOn gas heating systems the burner flame should be a bright blue color. A furnace warning sign is a flickering or yellowish looking flame. This is an indication that the gas is not burning completely. It is also an indicator that your heating system may be producing a higher than normal level of carbon monoxide. Other carbon monoxide warning signs are:

  • Indicators of soot streaks around the furnace.
  • A lack of strong upward draft in your chimney.
  • Visible signs of excessive moisture on exterior windows and walls.
  • Visible signs of water pooling at the base of your chimney or flue pipe.
  • Visible signs of rust on your vent pipe.

4) Is your furnace making a loud noise?

Another furnace warning sign is strange noises. You should start to get concerned if your furnace or boiler is starting to make strange sounds such as squeaking, banging, rattling, hissing, clicking, popping or other strange noises. Another furnace noise to never ignore is the constant running of your furnace blower fan. Increasing these types of noises is generally an indicator that your heating system will need to be replaced.

Need to schedule furnace services in NY, NJ, and PA? SOS Xtreme Comfort has years of experience helping homeowners just like you. Contact us today to learn more!

5) Furnace won’t stay on?

Older furnaces and boilers may have a hard time getting started. If your furnace won’t stay lit or won’t stay on, this can be an indication that your heating system needs attention. A furnace repair may be needed to replace wiring that has become faulty, replace the malfunctioning thermostat wire, blower fan, condensate pan, or another component in the heating system. If your boiler or furnace keeps going out, that’s a sign it’s time to invest in a new heating system.

6) Does your house have cold spots or ice accumulation?

If you are noticing some rooms in your house are colder than others or that your heating system is just not doing its job, it’s likely that your furnace is not heating enough to keep your house warm anymore. Aging boilers and furnaces lose their capacity to heat your home effectively. Although a repair can provide a temporary solution, installing a new heating system that’s properly sized for your home’s heating needs is the best option.

Another warning sign is an ice dam forming on your roof near the furnace exhaust vent. This could be an indication of heat leaking from ductwork in the attic. Call your local HVAC company to inspect your furnace, vents, and duct work.

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7) Does your family keep getting sick?

sick family laying in bedLow levels of carbon monoxide may cause symptoms that include headaches, nausea, lightheadedness and other flulike symptoms. When heating systems get old and are pushing their lifespan, cracks develop in the heating system that permitted gases like carbon monoxide to filter into the home. If you and your family are experiencing these types of symptoms it may be due to carbon monoxide. If you suspect this is the case, be sure to open windows to air out the house and leave the home. If you’re in NY, NJ, and PA, call us immediately and we will inspect your heating system. We will give you an honest assessment as to whether or not the system can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced.

8) What is the indoor air quality in your home?

Newer model furnaces have fantastic indoor air quality and humidification features. In the winter, does your home’s air feel stuffy? Does the air feel stale? If you suffer from allergies, does it get worse in the winter? Does your skin dry out? How about your nose and throat, do they get dry more often in the winter? While some of these symptoms naturally occur during wintertime, if you are experiencing a higher level of symptoms this year versus last year, especially while inside, your furnace may need to be replaced. Dry air inside your home will create an environment where dust will accumulate. In this case, your indoor plants will droop and you might notice an increase in static electricity shocks. Your wood flooring, furniture and musical instruments will also dry out and suffer a loss in quality. In fact, you may notice musical instruments will be harder to keep in tune. If you notice these symptoms, it is time to consider a new heating system that can properly filter and humidify the dry winter air of NY, NJ, and PA.

9) Have you needed multiple heating repairs?

Have you required more than one heating repair on your furnace or boiler within the last two years? Just like cars break down more often as they age, so does your home’s furnace or boiler. As your need for repairs increases, you should start considering and planning for a new heating system. Keep in mind, the average lifespan for furnaces is typically 12 to 15 years.
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