When to Replace or Fix Your Furnace
Many people go into homeownership thinking mowing the lawn and shoveling the sidewalk are the biggest tasks when it comes to sustaining a nice home. But maintaining your furnace is one of the most important responsibilities not only for your comfort, but for your safety, too. So how do you know when to replace your furnace and when to simply fix it? We’ve got the list of things to look out for to know whether your furnace is about to die.
Age of Your Furnace
Just like humans, furnaces have a life expectancy. With the average life span being 20 to 25 years, you may want to start the process of looking (or saving) for a replacement if your furnace is over 15 years old.
“Do your homework so that you if have a no-heat situation in the middle of winter with an expensive repair pending, you are prepared to buy the furnace you want rather than make a rushed decision,” says Keith Hill, manager, technical support, at Minnesota Air. There are many comfort options on new furnaces, so be aware of your options before you make the decision.
With age, comes the break down of moving parts, rust and corrosion. Furnaces need part replacements, just as people need knee and hip replacements. The difference is, humans aren’t replaceable and furnaces are. If you are spending more and more to repair a furnace, even at 15 years old, you may want to consider putting the money you would have spent on the repair towards buying a new heating unit.
“For those of you brave enough to remove the doors of your furnace, look for rust and corrosion,” says Keith. “It’s normal to see some, but excessive amounts will impair the combustion process and reduce efficiency.”
A change in noise level is another sign that more potential repairs are on the horizon. Keith says if you hear elevated blower noises, mechanical noises, or motor noises, they can all be signs of wear and tear on your furnace.
The Department of Energy's website, Energystar.gov, also warns that noises could mean you “have an undersized duct system or a problem with the indoor coil of your cooling equipment” and it may be time to replace.
Change In Furnace Efficiency
Notice your energy bill going up? It might be a sign that more of your heat is heading up the flue instead of going into your home. And that may be because of a change in the gas combustion in your furnace.
“It’s a good idea to have a heating and cooling professional perform a combustion analysis on a regular basis and compare the information from year to year,” says Keith. “Even if you only have it done every five years, it’s still a good indicator of your furnace’s health.”
Also, keep in mind that just because your existing system still works, you may see a payback by upgrading to a high efficiency furnace system. “Many of the older furnaces still in service today are only 60 to 80 percent efficient,” says Keith. “With furnaces today in the mid 90 percent range, the payback to replace is very attractive.” Energystar.gov says consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR-qualified furnace, which is 15 percent more efficient than a conventional furnace.
For more energy saving and home comfort tips, visit StayComfyMinnesota.com! Stay Comfy, Minnesota is your Minnesota resource for air conditioning repair, furnace repair and HVAC tips and advice.