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9 Signs That Your Furnace Is About To Break Down

Replacing a heating system in the middle of the 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 install. This guide will help you decide and plan for the best time to replace your furnace or boiler. Hopefully this will help you avoid “furnace not working” problems!

1) What is the age of your heating system?

The typical lifespan for heating systems that have been properly installed and maintained is approximately 12 to 15 years. Older systems will typically begin to need 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) Are your annual heating cost increasing?

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. 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.

When you see increases in your annual heating expenses, coupled with an aging heater, it may be time to start considering replacement. 

3) Is your flame the right color?

gas burner flame colorOn gas heating systems the burner flame should be a bright blue color. A 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 warning signs of carbon monoxide are:

4) Does your heater sound like it is possessed?

Another 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, popping or other strange noises. Another noise to be aware of 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.

5) Does your heating system have a hard time getting started on or staying on?

Older furnaces and boilers may have a hard time getting started. this can be an indication sign that your heating system needs attention. A repair may be needed to replace wiring that has become faulty, replace the malfunctioning thermostat wire repair another component in the heating system. Continual malfunctioning is a sign that you need a new heating system.

6) Does your home have cold spots or ice?

If you are noticing areas within your house that are now constantly cold or that the heating system is just not doing its job, it is probable that your furnace is not capable of heating your home anymore. Another warning sign is ice forming on the roof. This could be an indication of heat leaking from ductwork in the attic. Give us a call, we can inspect your furnace and duct work.

7) Is your family getting sick more frequently?

sick family and furnace not workingLow 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. Give us a call 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 air quality in your home?

Newer model furnaces have fantastic indoor air quality features and humidification features. In the winter, does your home air feel stuffy? Does it 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. Also, your indoor plants will droop and you might notice an increase in static electricity shocks. Your wood flooring, furniture and musical instruments will dry out. 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.

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? We like to make the analogy to automobiles. As cars get older, they tend to break down more often. The same is true for heating systems. 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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