Here are five warning signs that your furnace might be due for some repairs.
Most furnaces last for 15 to 20 years. If your furnace is getting on in years, it’s time to start shopping around. If you plan on staying in your home for the foreseeable future, it will be worth it to invest in a new furnace. Likewise, if you’re planning on selling your property soon, a new furnace will be an attractive feature to prospective buyers.
You might be able to squeeze a few more years out of your furnace if it’s on the lower end of the age bracket, but consult with a professional before you pay to fix a furnace that won’t last the winter anyway.
2. Rising Electric Bills
Compare your gas and electric bills from the last few winters. Have they been steadily rising or experienced a significant jump in the last one or two years? Rising gas bills can mean that your furnace is no longer running efficiently; it’s probably running for longer periods of time to produce the same amount of heat.
If you notice a change in your bills, hire a furnace technician to come out and give you an estimate on needed repairs. Summer might be a good time to get it checked out, before the busy season hits. Another option is to wait until you can compare a few current winter electric bills with the last few years’ to confirm the diagnosis.
3. Previous Repairs
A furnace is much like a car—the older it gets, the more frequently it will need repairs. Once you repair one part, another will break. These repairs will occur most frequently during its last two years, so if you’ve paid for multiple furnace repairs for several winters now, start looking at your options.
Add up the cost of the last few repairs you’ve made and use them to project the cost of repairs for the next year or two. It might be more cost-efficient to invest in a new furnace instead of continuing to repair the old one.
4. Strange Noises and Smells
One of the most telltale signs that your furnace is on the fritz is if it starts to make funny noises. Calgary furnace experts at Need-A-Plumber Canada recommend that you have a technician check out all grinding or chattering noises immediately. These sounds usually mean that a belt or relay needs to be replaced. Ignoring thumping or grinding noises could not only mean a colder winter for your household, but it could also result in frozen or burst pipes that will be much more expensive to replace than a simple belt.
In addition to funny noises, pay attention to how the air in your home smells. A dry, musty smell when the heater is on probably means that your furnace is due for its annual cleaning. A thin layer of dust is probably harmless, but be careful—if your furnace isn’t kept clean and free of rust, carbon monoxide can build up rapidly, which can result in serious health problems for your family.
5. Flame Color
What color is your furnace’s flame? If it is yellow instead of blue, this could be another indication that carbon monoxide is building up.
Other symptoms of carbon monoxide include:
- Streaks of soot on the furnace
- Excess moisture on nearby windows or walls
- Excess rusting on flue pipes or other pipe connections
- Water leaking from base of chimney or flue pipe
Pay attention to how you and your family are feeling. If your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide, you may be get headaches or feel nauseous. You may also experience a burning sensation in your nose and eyes, disorientation, or other flu-like symptoms. If you start feeling any of these symptoms, open some windows to air out your home and contact a furnace technician for immediate assistance.
Don’t wait until your furnace breaks down completely to get it checked out; you don’t want to be stuck with no heat in the dead of winter. If you think your furnace might need repairs, call out a technician to take a quick look. You’ll save time, stress, and effort if you catch simple problems before they become too big to repair.