This is a guest post courtesy of James Memije, the owner of AccuServ Heating and Air Conditioning in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Furnaces must be replaced every 15 or so years, depending on the quality of your specific model and how you’ve maintained it during its lifespan. As a furnace gets older, there will be signs that it is breaking down, becoming less efficient, or even becoming dangerous. Here are four common signs that tell you it’s time to replace the furnace.
Bills that Just Keep Going Up
One of the first signs you’ll get that your furnace is ready to give will show up on your power bill! A failing furnace will start costing you more money in two obvious ways. First, if you find that your monthly heating or energy bill is steadily rising, that’s a sign that your furnace is losing its ability to operate efficiently. Second, you will start to notice that you spend an increasing amount of money to repair smaller issues on a regular basis.
You can wait for a period of a year or two to really see a trend for either of these two potential issues. If you only have a few months where your energy or repair bills are higher than normal, it’s worth keeping an eye on but may not be a sign of a larger problem with your furnace.
Frequent Loud Noises
Once your furnace gets up in age, it’s a good idea to semi-frequently inspect your furnace to see if you hear any unusual noises that are common among older furnaces. Here’s a list of different noises that you can listen for:
- Shaking — a sign of loose, unsecured and/or improperly balanced components
- Cracking — a sign that parts of your furnace are changing temperature too rapidly and popping as a result
- Whirring — a sign the fan in your furnace is starting to break down
- Screeching — a sign that belts, bearings, or other components are grinding against each other
These are the sorts of issues that can be repaired, but are also a strong sign that your furnace is breaking down to the extent that it is worth replacing very soon.
Carbon Monoxide Production
Another sign that your furnace is breaking down is that it starts affecting the air quality in your home. For example, it will start producing excessive amounts of carbon monoxide, which can be detected through the flu with the right alarm, but is a dangerous and toxic gas that has no smell or taste.
If there is any carbon monoxide in your home that is a major red flag. Evacuate the home until emergency crews have cleared it. It usally means that your furnace is breaking down and producing the excessive amount. Another sign that your furnace is producing more carbon monoxide is that the flame is starting to look less blue and more yellow.
If you start to notice any signs of carbon monoxide in your home you should immediately test or inspect your furnace, so it can be replaced as soon as possible.
Visible Signs of Age & Decay
There are also visible signs that your furnace needs replacement soon. Things like rust or cracks on the furnace unit itself are problematic enough to warrant closer experience inspection. More problematic signs are if you can see soot or rust that is built up around your furnace and/or duct vents, both are further signs that your furnace may need attention and repair to avoid a shorter lifespan and earlier replacement.
About the Author:
James Memije is the owner of AccuServ Heating and Air Conditioning. He has extensive knowledge in hydronics and forced air systems and is a Licensed Gas Fitter with several certifications including heat load calculation and air duct design.