The last thing you want to do in the middle of winter is to have your furnace quit suddenly. Losing your furnace during the cold season is a disaster that carries serious ramifications. Once you lose the source of heating in your home, your water pipes are in danger of freezing, even as fast as overnight. To help figure out if you should start thinking about replacing your furnace before your old one gives out, follow these six simple steps.
1. Determine how old your furnace is. A furnace can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years. After that, it's living on borrowed time. One way to figure out the age of your furnace is to find the manufacturer's name and model number on the unit itself. Try calling the company, and they might be able to tell you when that particular model was made. Your HVAC maintenance person may also be able to tell you just by looking at it.
2. Consider your heating bills. Have they been rising even higher than standard rate increases? The reason may be because your furnace is getting sluggish. Older furnaces tend to lose efficiency as they get older. Moreover, they started out with much lower efficiency than most new furnaces. Their lack of efficiency translates to higher fuel bills for you. Furnaces today are built to be more energy efficient than their predecessors. With a new high-efficiency furnace, the energy savings you'll realize in your bills will offset the purchase price over time.
3. Pay attention to how much your furnace cycles on and off. This is another good indication that the furnace may be struggling to keep up with your home's heating needs. The fact that it keeps going on and off itself can cause excess wear and tear that will shorten your furnace's lifespan.
4. Is your furnace "talking" to you? Specifically, is it groaning, moaning, creaking, whining, rattling or humming? A furnace that is operating efficiently doesn't do this. If your furnace is constantly complaining, it's probably time to talk to an HVAC technician about possibly getting a new furnace.
5. Examine the areas around your furnace. If there's evidence of fuel oil leakage, soot, black dust, dirt, rust particles or any other debris, you may need a furnace replacement. If you spot wet oil, call an HVAC person immediately, because there could be a fire hazard as well.
6. Finally, if you've recently built an addition to your home, this puts extra strain on your furnace. Even if you converted an existing garage or storage area into a living area, your furnace may struggle to heat the extra square footage. Remember that furnaces are chosen to fit the original size of the house. If you've added to the furnace's workload, it will feel the strain.
The best time to find out if you might need a furnace replacement in the near future is before you have a furnace emergency. Consider these tips today to find out if you should start shopping tomorrow, or call companies like Allied Mechanical & Electrical, Inc.