Furnace On Its Last Legs? Five Reasons To Consider Installing A New One
Furnaces just don't last forever, no matter how well you take care of them. They usually quit right around the 15 to 20 year mark. That's when it usually becomes more expensive to keep the old furnace running rather than ripping it out and putting in something new. If you do install a new furnace, choosing one with an Energy Star rating will cut down on your energy bill even more. Below are five ways you can tell that your old furnace is on its way out.
You're Calling the Repairman Again?
Ever look after an old car? Pretty soon your old ride seems to spend much more time in the shop than in your garage. It's the same with old furnaces. Not enough TLC and your furnace will quit in the middle of that winter snowstorm you've been worrying about. Do yourself a favor and add up the repair bills for the last year or so. If the total gives you sticker shock, then you may want to install a new model. If you're wise, you'll make the switch before that snowstorm arrives.
Why Does the Flame Change Color?
A furnace burner must be clean and properly vented to deliver that bright blue flame that indicates maximum burning efficiency. A hint of yellow flame is OK, but any more than that and you may have a dirty burner. Yellow flames also mean your furnace is producing an excess of carbon monoxide gas, which can be lethal if not vented out of your living space. If it's just the dirty burner, and your furnace is in good shape, replacing the burner is a viable scenario. If the rest of the burner mechanism and the venting system are also not properly functioning, it might be safer to replace the furnace.
Does Your Furnace Look Old?
Just like that vintage car in your garage, your furnace may look almost as new as the day it was made. But when determining the true age of a furnace, you need to look beneath the shiny exterior. For example, if a furnace isn't working properly, you might see sooty streaks near the burner or a rusty flue or vent pipes. Even worse, you might see, or hear, water dripping down into the furnace. Be sure and check the chimney's draft. If it's diminished or nonexistent, fumes won't be vented to the outside of your home. That brings up the carbon monoxide problem again. You may start seeing moisture forming on your windows, another sign there may be a venting issue. Talk with a contractor from furnace repair service to better determine what condition your furnace is in.
Does Your Furnace Make Strange Noises?
Going back to the car scenario, you'll often find strange clunks, bumps or squeaks coming from the suspension on older vehicles. It's the same for furnaces. As they approach the end of their life span, you're likely to hear strange sounds when you fire the furnace up or if it's been running a while. One of the biggest sound culprits is the blower. It shuts on and off more frequently and is usually not as quiet as it used to be. If that blower is also blowing cold air, start shopping for a new furnace.
Are You Playing With Your Thermostat?
Thermostats are designed to keep your home heated at a comfortable, constant temperature. By picking a setting and leaving it alone, thermostats also help reduce energy costs by minimizing the number of times a furnace shuts on and off. The thermostat depends on the furnace to distribute warm air properly so that all the rooms remain at the same temperature. Old furnaces don't do this as efficiently, sometime due to leaks or improper burning of fuels. That means you'll have to make frequent thermostat adjustments to stay comfortable. That kind of makes the whole thermostat concept all but pointless.