When Do I Need a New Furnace?

By March 18, 2020 Heating, Tips

A furnace is one of the most important pieces of equipment found in modern homes. It provides heat and promotes good air circulation, making it crucial to the family’s warmth and comfort during the colder months. But sometimes, a furnace falls short of expectations for a variety of reasons, from dirty filters and air leakage to poor HVAC installation and more. 

In any case, a furnace that is not working properly should be immediately repaired by an HVAC service professional. But what if the issue is simply age-related? Here are the signs it’s time to get a new furnace.

Your furnace is more than 15-20 years old

When it comes to furnaces, the most crucial period usually begins after the first 15 to 20 years of the equipment’s life. There’s no telling when a furnace will stop working, so it boils down to practicing caution, especially as it gets older. In many cases, it can last beyond 20 years, and there’s no reason to replace it if it continues to serve its purpose. Still, knowing its age can help put things in perspective when diagnosing and correcting performance issues.

Your heating bill has increased

Like all HVAC equipment, furnaces lose their efficiency with time, especially when poorly maintained. This simply means they will require more gas or electricity to do their job, thereby increasing heating costs. When analyzing heating bills, however, it’s important to focus on gas or electricity consumption instead of amounts (higher bills can also be due to higher rates charged by providers). If the increase is due to age-related efficiency issues, a furnace replacement could be a good move. 

Your furnace looks, sounds, or smells like something is wrong

Thumping, squealing, popping— these are just some of the sounds that could come from an unbalanced blower wheel, a loose blower belt, a cracked heat exchanger, and so on. Such defects can also produce bad odors, like the smell of rotten eggs (the smell of natural gas), dirty socks, or even ozone. In some cases, a furnace may outwardly display signs of wear and tear that an expert can determine it’s time for a new one.

Your house just isn’t warming up properly

Poor, uneven heating is another telltale sign of a furnace that needs to be retired. Some areas of the home may feel too cold while others feel too hot. Sometimes, the thermostat may have to be adjusted constantly to achieve a comfortable temperature. Age can keep a furnace from distributing heat properly, although a damaged thermostat could also be the reason. Only a certified technician can tell which is which and provide the appropriate heating service. But if a furnace is well past its prime and there is no other reasonable explanation for the issues, a heating replacement might be in order. 

Even with the thermostat setting to high, it never keeps you comfortable

A furnace is essentially controlled by a thermostat. If the thermostat fails, the furnace fails as a whole. Many things can cause a thermostat to malfunction, such as faulty wiring, extreme temperature changes, dust, etc. But it’s important to note that time can also weaken the connection between the thermostat and the heating unit itself. The problem can often be isolated and solved simply by replacing the thermostat. If this doesn’t work, it could be time for an entirely new heating installation

You’ve had to make frequent repairs in the last few years

Most homeowners make a maximum of three service calls to heating companies within the first fifteen years of the equipment’s life. If the unit is new but requires more furnace repairs than usual, it is often a case of faulty furnace installation, misdiagnosis, or mistreatment of a correct diagnosis. If the furnace is at least 15 years old and breaks down once every few months, it is clearly not worth the cost of upkeep, especially considering that furnace maintenance costs tend to increase as damage worsens. This makes buying a new furnace more cost-effective, even if it costs higher upfront. 

Let Us Take a Look – Contact BR McGinty

Furnaces are simple in purpose but complex in function. Hence, it takes an expert to understand how they work and when they can no longer work with reasonable efficiency. The good news is an old, useless furnace is not so hard to detect. Its age, performance, and users’ sensory experiences (sight, sound, and smell) all provide hints of its current condition. By paying attention to the above signs and consulting with a professional, it will be easier to tell if a new furnace will be a wise investment. Contact BR McGinty now!