With the prime home heating season coming up, the last thing you need to worry about is your furnace giving out on a cold December night. While an outdated furnace will give way to higher utility bills, it can also pose serious safety risks to you and your family. Here are some of the top signs your furnace may need some TLC or a replacement.
Your Furnace Is Over 15 Years Old
Life spans of furnaces can range anywhere from 10-20 years, but according to ENERGY STAR, homeowners should replace a furnace that is over 15 years old with an ENERGY STAR-rated furnace for over 15% more energy efficiency.
Homeowners with a 15 year+ furnace will see a drop in efficiency, an increase in repair calls, and higher utility bills.
Your Heating Bills Are Going Up, Up, Up
From increasing electric and gas rates to simply a colder year, a variety of problems can be to blame for skyrocketing utility bills. As far as the factors you can control, if you've had your furnace serviced or repaired by a reputable HVAC company and have had your air ducts sealed, you shouldn't be seeing a substantial increase in monthly utility consumption.
A furnace system that's on it's last leg may cause a sudden increase in your heating bills, meaning it may be time to start shopping. The extra money you'd spend on the surmounting bills might as well go toward a more efficient system.
The Flame is Yellow or Flickering
A good gas flame should burn blue consistently. You can usually tell if your furnace has an incomplete burn if the flame is yellow or flickering. An incomplete burn leads to heating inefficiency and the production of carbon monoxide. Look for other signs of carbon monoxide, such as:
- Excessive moisture on windows, walls or other cool surfaces
- Excessively rusted pipes
- Water leaking from tthe base of your chimney, vent or flue pipe
- Rust on the outside portion of your vent pipe
- Soot streaks around the furnace
Homeowners should always have a carbon monoxide detector in place in the event of leaking carbon monoxide.
You and the Repairman Are On a First-Name Basis
According to the Department of Energy, furnaces require the most repairs in the last two years of their life. It doesn't take long to spend several hundreds of dollars to keep your old system running, not to mention the waiting time for replacement parts to be ordered if your system is aging toward it's second decade.
You Often Hear Clank, Clank, Clank
Older furnaces also start to make strange noises toward the end of their life. If you often hear rattling, popping or banging noises accompanied by the blower frequently turning off and on and blowing cold air, it's a sign it's time to have your furnace replaced.
You Can Never Find a Comfortable Temperature
An aging furnace has trouble distributing heat properly and evenly throughout a home. If you have rooms that are too hot or too cold and are often adjusting the thermostat, it may be time for a new furnace.
You Are Constantly Dusting
While a dusty home isn't a dead giveaway of an aging furnace, old furnaces lack the ability to distribute moisture and clean your home's air. If your house feels stuff or stale, family members suffer from allergies, dry skin, throat or nose, or you experience fequent dust accumulation and static shocks, this could suggest your old furnace is not keeping up with your family's comfort needs.
If your home is in need of significant repairs, renovation, or rehab, download our free Rehab & Construction Guide for information on how you can combine the costs of home renovations with your mortgage loan.