Your furnace is a vital appliance in your home. It keeps you warm in winter and makes your living space comfortable. It’s also a relatively huge investment, so you want to ensure it lasts as long as possible. But at some point, every furnace needs to be repaired or replaced.
How do you know if you should repair or replace a furnace? Here are some factors to consider:
1. It Is More Than 15 Years Old
A furnace’s average lifespan is 15-20 years. In fact, it can last longer if you take care of it properly, like having them maintained regularly. But if it’s on the older side, it might be time to start shopping for a replacement. You don’t need to wait until it completely breaks down to do this.
There are three reasons why:
- A more efficient furnace means a lower bill. So, even if your furnace is still working, a new and improved model could save you money in the long run.
- As furnaces age, they become less effective at heating your home evenly. This can create hot and cold spots, which are uncomfortable and cause your energy bills to spike. Check the serial number if you’re unsure how old your furnace is. The first four digits usually indicate the year it was manufactured.
- You don’t want to rush buying a new furnace. It’s a significant decision, and you want to be sure you’re getting the best possible deal. So, it’s best to take time and do your research and compare different models before settling on one.
2. Your Energy Bills Have Gone Up
If your energy bills suddenly increase, but you haven’t changed your thermostat settings, it could suggest that your furnace is losing efficiency. As mentioned earlier, furnaces tend to lose their effectiveness as they age. So, if your energy bills have spiked up but nothing else has changed, it might be time for a new furnace.
What if it’s less than 15 years old? If your furnace is still relatively new, but your energy bills have increased, the problem might not be the furnace itself. It could be something else, such as poor insulation or drafty windows. In this case, you should get an energy audit to determine the source of the problem before considering a replacement.
Also, if you replace it with a more energy-efficient furnace, you can receive rebates and tax credits. You can save more by paying less than half of your energy bill, which pays for another furnace in just a few years.
3. Hot and Cold Spots in Your Home
Do certain rooms in your house always seem colder or hotter than others? If so, it could indicate that your furnace isn’t working properly. Remember, uneven heating is one of the signs of a furnace nearing the end of its lifespan. But if your furnace is not old enough to warrant replacement, something else might have happened, like a blocked duct. In this case, you should have a professional check to see if they can fix the problem.
Unfortunately, even professionals can’t fix some issues. In these instances, you might have to resign yourself to the fact that you need a new furnace.
4. Your Furnace Makes Strange Noises
If it starts making strange noises, it’s time for a professional inspection to determine if repairing a furnace is the best option. Once again, this is something that usually happens as furnaces age. So, if your furnace is nearing its 15-year mark, consider shopping for a new one.
However, note that there are other reasons your furnace might make strange noises. It could be something as simple as a loose belt or something more serious, like a cracked heat exchanger. In any case, you should have a professional take a look to determine the cause of the noise and whether or not it can be fixed.
The most common furnace noise is banging. This could result from a loose component and sediment buildup in the gas lines. If you ignore this issue, it will only worsen and could eventually lead to a complete breakdown.
Other common furnace noises include:
- Hissing: This could be due to a gas leak, which is very dangerous. You should leave the house immediately and call a professional.
- Squealing: This is usually caused by a belt that needs to be replaced.
- Popping: This noise often arises from sediment buildup in the gas lines. As the sediment heats up, it creates a popping sound.
- Clanking: This is usually due to loose components in the furnace. If your furnace is making any of these noises, don’t ignore them.
When you hear any of these noises, don’t try to fix the problem yourself. Turn off your furnace and call a professional right away.
5. You See Signs of Carbon Monoxide
The air from your furnace goes through a heat exchanger before it’s distributed through your home. If a crack develops in the exchanger, the air runs across the burner, which can lead to incomplete combustion. As a result, a carbon monoxide buildup occurs. Older units are more likely to develop cracks.
If you start seeing signs of carbon monoxide, it’s time to get out of the house and call a professional immediately. This is a serious problem that can be deadly. If you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, it should go off if there’s a leak. But if you don’t have one, monitor these carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
6. You Have to Repair Your Furnace Often
If you find yourself repairing your furnace often, it might be time to replace it. But this will depend on the age of your furnace and the severity of the repairs. In general, if you constantly have to repair your furnace, it’s probably time for a new one.
Remember that furnace repairs can be expensive. So, if you’re paying a lot on repairs, you might as well replace the furnace and save yourself some money over time.
Also, each time you repair your furnace, there’s a risk that something could go wrong. This is why it’s always best to let a professional handle the repairs. They know what they’re doing and can get the job done right.
7. Your House Is Dusty
If your house is always dusty and you’re constantly cleaning, but there’s still dust everywhere, you may need to replace your furnace filters. But if that doesn’t seem to help, replacing the furnace may be necessary.
A new furnace will have better filtration and will circulate the air better. This will help reduce the amount of dust in your home. If you have allergies, this can be a godsend. You should also know that some furnaces have special features that help reduce dust.
For example, some furnaces come with an air purifier. This helps remove dust and other allergens from the air in your home. If you’re concerned about dust, it might be time to upgrade to a new furnace.
8. It’s Time for an Upgrade
Even if your furnace isn’t showing any signs of wear and tear, you might still want to consider replacing it. This is especially helpful if your furnace is more than 15 years old. So, if yours is getting older, it might be time for an upgrade.
A new furnace will not only be more energy-efficient, but it will also be safer. Nowadays, newer models have many features that help keep your family safe. For example, some models come with carbon monoxide detectors. This can help save your life in the event of a leak.
Other models come with self-diagnostics. This feature helps identify problems early on so they can be fixed before they cause major damage. So, if you’re concerned about safety, it might be time to replace your furnace.
The Bottom Line
Choosing whether to replace or repair your furnace is a tricky decision. However, start with the fact that once your furnace is nearing its 15-year mark, consider replacing it. From there, keep an eye out for the signs listed above. These should guide you in your decision-making process.
If you’re unsure whether replacing your furnace is what you need or not, call us now to schedule an appointment. We will come and inspect your furnace for you. As professionals with years of experience, we can tell you if what you need is a repair or replacement. We will also discuss other options available to you.
LG Comfort Home has been efficiently providing heating services to Ontario businesses and homeowners. Our certified professionals are experts in furnace repair, replacement, installation and maintenance. We can also help you find an efficient furnace that meets your needs.