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How to Know if Your Furnace Needs To Be Replaced

By January 26, 2016February 15th, 2018Energy Efficiency, Heating, HP News, HVAC, Tips
Replace Furnace BR McGinty

As we’re sure you are aware, it’s pretty normal for your furnace/heater to make noise. In the same token, if your unit is making noise it could also be an indicator that it is time to either maintain or replace your unit. So, how do you know the difference? Well, there are several indicators that it’s time to replace your furnace. The average lifespan of a heating unit is 15-18 years old. It’s important for you to know how old your furnace is to help with identifying if the issues you’re experiencing are imminent. So, what are these indicators? They range from audible and visual cues to smells and fluctuations in your heating bill. If you’re experiencing any of these issues that we are about to share with you, it would behoove you to call an HVAC specialist like BR McGinty to stop out and lend a professional helping hand; we’re here to help!


1.) A very common problem that people experience with heating their home has nothing to do with the actual furnace itself. Is your thermostat broken? If you have a faulty thermostat it could mean that there is leaky ducting allowing for heat to escape or even the adverse effect (maybe there is a blockage). If it isn’t an issue with the ducting, then it could be that the problem is with your pilot light (which we will teach you to identify later). An easy way to know if your thermostat is busted is if you are noticing a lot of fluctuation in the temperatures in your home. Is your bedroom a different temperature from you living room? From your kitchen? If the heat is being dispersed unevenly in your home then it’s a strong indication that the ducting is inconsistent. This could also result in you taking several trips to your thermostat to adjust the temperature. If you’re setting it to say 71 degrees and you’re noticing that it gets there but doesn’t hold temperature then you’ve got an issue with the thermostat which directly affects the functionality of your furnace.

Bill Fluctuation

2.) Tying directly into the previous indicator, if you are noticing giant fluctuations in your heating bill then that is your furnace responding to the constant interaction you’re having with your thermostat. Similarly, if your system won’t turn on or stay on then you can be sure that your furnace is pretty well shot.

Pilot Light

3.) A lot of people may not be aware of how to spot an issue with their pilot light. A pilot light is a small gas burner kept continuously burning to light a larger burner when needed. A pilot light that is working properly should brandish a blue color (high heat). If the flame is a yellow color then it could mean that there is incomplete combustion resulting in less than desireable heat being emitted from the flame. When there is incomplete combustion your pilot light emits carbon monoxide; obviously this is dangerous and needs to be addressed immediately. Another cause for a yellow flame could be that there is airflow obstruction. As most are aware, flame requires airflow to be stoked. Call one of us at BR McGinty to come out and identify the reason for the obstruction and we’ll get your heat blasting in no time.

How Old is Your Unit?

4.) Is your furnace over 15 years old? As we stated before, the average lifespan of a furnace is 15-18 years. If this is the case then your unit is likely approaching it’s last leg of life; this is why it’s important to know how old your unit is. While there may be things that can be done to extend your furnace’s life, at this point you may spend more money in the subsequent months fixing it than you would replacing it. If you’re not certain how old your unit is, when was the last time you had it inspected or fixed? An HVAC professional should be able to identify that for you, and if there is a notable problem with the age of the furnace then they will notify you. It’s most important to have your unit and ducting inspected during the transitional months (winter leading into spring and fall leading into winter). BR McGinty offers an Annual Maintenance Agreement, meaning you’re guaranteed to have an HVAC professional inspect the essentials during the most imperative months; all you have to do is schedule the appointments. Through this agreement you’ll be saving money as well!


5.) Are you noticing water buildup or pooling around your furnace? This could mean that there is a leak in your humidifier or a leak in your condensate drain line. Either or of these causes will directly affect the functionality of your heating unit.


6.) If you’re experiencing strong odors being emitted through your ventilation system or directly from your furnace, there is either a blockage/leak in your ducting or something has burned out; maybe your pilot light needs to be relit and you are experiencing the odor of carbon monoxide. We at BR McGinty specialize in identifying and fixing these sorts of issues; give us a call!

These are just a few simple ways for you to discover imminent issues with your heating unit/furnace. If you are noticing any or all of these things in your home then unfortunately it may be time to replace your furnace. Although, it’s hard to tell for sure if you need to replace it without having it inspected by a professional. We’re happy to come out and inspect any or all of your concerns. If it turns out that you do, indeed, need a new furnace, we can certainly help with that too!