How to Know If You Need to Fix or Replace Your Furnace

How to Know If You Need to Fix or Replace Your Furnace
  • Opening Intro -

    When you're renovating an older home with a furnace that's one of the more weathered systems, then the question arises whether it makes sense to book a maintenance visit or to replace the furnace outright.

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In this article, we look at answering this question for you.

Unusual Sounds

A furnace will have a selection of normal sounds that it makes when operating. An observant homeowner can learn these and be alerted to a problem when the furnace “doesn’t sound right.

Often, this is the first indicator of real problems with a furnace (or another system in the home) before either performing a visual inspection yourself or booking a call from a professional to do so.

Leaking Problems

There are two main types of furnace leaks worth mentioning here:

  1. Humidifier leaks
  2. Condensation leaks

A leaking humidifier is used with a furnace to disperse moisture through the air in the home. It does this through the connection to the main’s water supply from the water utility company.

Sometimes, there’s a crack causing a leak and other times, there’s a blockage somewhere. A cracked pipe that goes to the humidifier can leak water into the humidifier and, subsequently, the furnace. This can appear to be a furnace leak when it’s not.

A furnace that’s rated as highly efficient will produce some condensation, which is quite normal. An excess amount is not. With these types of furnaces, the condensation pools under the furnace and should go down through the drain.

floor heating systemheat pump heating system

In terms of furnace leaks, a condensation leak from the furnace shouldn’t happen with a standard efficiency model. Finding condensation requires a service call ASAP because a part might be incorrectly or poorly fitted, or worse.

One way to tell which furnace you have is to look at the vent piping – standard efficient systems use metal, not PVC.

Piping Issues

As with all heating and cooling systems, it never hurts to visually inspect the pipes around the system (in this case, the furnace) to see if there are any evident problems.

It’s a useful check because once you know there are no issues with the pipes, it helps narrow down where a problem might be located and what the true cause of it is.

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Blocked Drains

Your furnace has a drain on the inside. Indeed, if you have an AC, then it likely shares the drain with the AC system too.

It’s possible over time to see the drain get clogged up with debris. Unfortunately, should the drain sharing with the AC get blocked up, then the AC will actively move water towards the furnace. This can also be a little deceptive because when the water pools at the bottom of the furnace, it can look like a furnace leak when really, it’s due to the drain.

When listening for obvious issues and then checking for them safely, it’s possible to identify whether there might be a real furnace issue. Then it’s time to call in the professionals to properly assess the root cause and provide solutions to the problem. Depending on the cost, that will be a strong indicator whether it’s time to buy a new furnace or repair the existing one.

other valuable tips:

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