When Is It Time to Replace Your Furnace?

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Furnaces are integral to any homeowner’s comfort and health during the winter months. Unfortunately, furnaces can’t last a lifetime, even with proper maintenance. There are a few key indicators of a malfunctioning furnace, most of which ultimately point to one solution: it is time to replace your furnace.

While replacing a furnace can be expensive, including the appliance cost and service fees, the average cost to replace a furnace pales in comparison to high electric bills and unnecessary maintenance costs associated with running a replaceable unit. To better protect your home’s comfort, your safety, and your wallet, our HVAC specialists have summarized the top signs that it’s time to replace your furnace.

1. Furnace Age Exceeds 15 Years

The average lifespan of a furnace typically ranges between 15 and 20 years. Replacing your furnace during this timeframe will help ensure that your home is being heated efficiently and that you don’t waste your hard-earned money on unnecessary repairs or skyrocketing electric bills.  

2. Higher Energy Bills Than Usual

If you’ve noticed that your heating bills are higher than normal, the first thing you need to consider is if your furnace has exceeded the 15-year mark. When furnaces have to overwork themselves just to meet the demands of your thermostat, fan motors in the furnace begin to wear and use more energy just to do the same amount of work. 

Higher electric bills are telltale signs that furnace replacement is required. A new energy-efficient HVAC system should significantly reduce your energy costs.

3. Poor Air Quality

If older systems haven’t received regular maintenance or been cleaned regularly, then excessive dust, soot, dander, and other materials can clog vents and be expelled into the air, which can lead to breathing problems. When vents are clogged and soot piles up in the system, it greatly depletes the lifespan of the system and can cause many health issues that must be immediately addressed by furnace replacement. 

4. Higher Than Average Humidity Levels

A properly combusting furnace will dry out the air and remove humidity. But as your furnace ages and experiences normal wear and tear, the heat exchanger can develop thermal fuel residue. This build-up can prevent your old furnace from reaching necessary temperatures to remove humidity from the air, thus causing a more humid indoor climate. 

5. Strange Furnace Noises

If your furnace has become increasingly louder over time and begun to make strange noises that you aren’t accustomed to, chances are it’s time to replace your furnace. Rattling, squealing, and humming sounds are all indications of loose parts or worn-out pieces that are typically past the point of repair. Replacing a furnace at this point is often a necessity. 

6. Rooms Heat Unevenly

If your bedroom is freezing but your basement is hot, it could be time to consider replacing your furnace. When heat isn’t being properly distributed, it’s an indication that the furnace is no longer functional. In some cases, a tune-up may do the job. But, consider the other signs mentioned here and, if you are experiencing them as well, you most likely need a new furnace. 

7. Debris on the Registers

A register is a ventilation duct cover. Finding dirt, rust, or dust on this cover indicates that there is an influx of CO2 in your furnace. This can cause your air to become excessively dry, which can damage wood flooring and cause health concerns. This is a telltale sign that it could be time for a new system.

8. Activated Carbon Monoxide Detector

If your furnace’s built-in carbon monoxide detector has been blaring regularly, your home heating system could be on its last legs. These toxic gasses can be extremely dangerous to your health and safety and should be addressed immediately. 

9. Strange Odors 

An especially strong fuel-like smell coming from your furnace is not a normal occurrence. This often means that gases are escaping from the furnace or the filtration system isn’t operating correctly. It’s best to contact a qualified HVAC contractor for furnace maintenance if you’re experiencing strange odors.

10. HVAC Unit Won’t Start

Sometimes, a unit that doesn’t start can be assessed by an HVAC technician and fixed quickly. However, if this occurs after you’ve experienced any of the aforementioned warning signs, you may want to consider repair costs versus the average cost of replacing a furnace. 

Work with your technician to decide what will save money in the long run. A good rule of thumb is if repairs exceed 50% of the overall cost of your furnace, it may be time to go with a heating system replacement to avoid more expensive and frequent repairs in the future. 

Do You Require Furnace Replacement?

At Home Comfort USA, we’ve been professionally installing furnaces for years in California. Our expert HVAC technicians will properly assess your furnace to determine if it requires maintenance, repairs, or a full replacement. We’re committed to working within your budget to get you the kind of furnace you need. For more information regarding our maintenance, repair, furnace repairs, or installation processes, contact us today!

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