There’s a sudden morning chill in your home. Instead of waking up to the warmth and comfort of a fully heated bedroom, it’s brisk inside. What’s going on? You start by checking the thermostat. When you see that it’s set to your ideal indoor temperature, you start to wonder what’s really wrong.
Even though the complete lack of heat is a major clue that your furnace is on the fritz, it’s not the only sign. Take a look at the heater symptoms that may mean you need to start thinking about getting a new heater, pronto.
When your home’s air temperature is constantly fluctuating and you never feel completely comfortable, it may be a sign that your furnace isn’t functioning properly. If you find yourself adjusting the thermostat more than you used to, it’s time to have a professional assessment and decide whether to replace your heater or not.
Keep in mind, having to constantly adjust your thermostat may be a sign of another type of problem. For instance, you could have a thermostat issue, or your home’s wiring could be damaged in some way. Whatever the problem is, a heating contractor needs to come out and check it before you do anything.
If your furnace came with your home, you might not know how old it is. But if your HVAC technician tells you it looks more than a few decades old, you should know it may be time for replacement.
That said, age doesn’t always predict replacement. Some older homes have durable furnaces that have stood the test of time. Of course, they may not have stood the test of time efficiently.
In general, however, a furnace has a life expectancy of anywhere from 15 to 20 years, depending on what kind it is. An electric furnace typically lasts the least number of years, with a life span of about 15 years. Gas furnaces may last a bit longer, up to 18 years. And oil furnaces can last for two decades.
You should know, however, that these numbers aren’t set in stone. For instance, your friend’s 11-year-old electric furnace may have completely stopped working, while your other friend’s 22-year-old electric furnace is still going strong.
High Energy Bills
Suddenly your gas or electric bills are going up. This spike could just mean that your local utility company has raised their rates. Or it could mean that there’s a major utility price hike across the nation. But it could also mean that your furnace isn’t working well.
There are two main issues when it comes to deciding whether to replace your furnace due to high utility costs. If you’ve completely ruled out an overall price increase that was made by the utility company, and the HVAC tech says your furnace is at fault, it may be that your heater needs a repair. If this repair is major or the problem continues to return, a quick fix may not be worth it.
The other issue at play is your furnace’s overall energy efficiency. Older heaters just aren’t as efficient as newer ones. If yours is old and uses a continuous pilot light, has a heavy heat exchanger, uses a natural draft to create a flow of combustion gas or has an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) measure of 56% to 70%, it may be time to replace it. If you’re not sure about any of those things, ask the pro. They can tell you if you have an old, inefficient furnace that is costing you money.
Do you need a new heater? Heald Mechanical can help you to decide whether you need to repair or replace it.