How to Tell When it is Time to Replace Your Heater or Furnace
As the cold winter months loom ahead, you likely have many concerns as a homeowner. There is much to do, from weather-proofing your driveway to checking your insulation, even in warmer areas of the country, like Cedar Park, TX.
One of the most important things you’ll want to check is whether your heater or furnace is working properly. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through winter and then finding out your unit can’t produce the heat needed to keep your home cozy and comfortable.
The Importance of Maintaining Your Heater or Furnace
It’s important to discuss regular maintenance before we get into the signs that it’s time to replace your system.
Properly maintaining your heater or furnace will help it last through its full lifespan and ensure your comfort. Even if your furnace seems to work fine, yearly inspections will guarantee everything is functioning as it should.
When you call an HVAC technician out for an inspection, they’ll do the following:
- Inspect your furnace and wiring
- Check the pilot light
- Calibrate the fuel line pressure
- Clean the fuel line and pilot light
- Identify performance or mechanical issues
- Determine repair or replacement needs
- Clean components as needed
- Lubricate any moving parts
Just as getting regular automotive tune-up is important for drivers, annual furnace maintenance is vital for all homeowners. To keep your system running efficiently, you’ll want to get it checked out and maintained before the cold winter months are underway.
Signs You May Need a Heater Replacement
Sometimes, maintenance is not enough, especially if your unit is approaching the end of its lifespan, and replacement is the only option. It may also be less expensive in the long run to get a new unit if the old one is increasing your energy costs.
Whatever the case, evaluating your heating system is essential with the cold months coming up. You don’t want to get stuck in the dead of winter with a unit that can’t keep your home safe and comfortable. Whether you’re Cedar Park, TX, or New York, NY, maintaining the proper temperature for your home is essential.
Here are some signs that you need a heater replacement:
An Increase in Your Energy Bill
Seeing an increase in your energy bill is everyone’s worst nightmare. Sometimes there’s a good reason for it, but if you don’t see any other explanations, your furnace or heater may be working too hard to keep your home warm.
When a unit is at the end of its service life, it’ll have to work harder to produce the same amount of heat. This hard work will ultimately lead to a higher gas or electric bill.
Even though replacing your furnace will cost you more upfront than maintaining your old one, your system will run more efficiently, keeping your energy bill as low as possible.
You Have an Old Heater or Furnace
If your heater or furnace is coming up on its 15th birthday, it may be time to look more closely at performance. A gas furnace often lasts about 15-20 years, so if your unit is in the ballpark, you’ll want to monitor it more closely to make sure it’s still working how you expect.
You may need a heater replacement soon, but a new system will ensure proper heat distribution and put an end to wasted energy.
You Need Frequent Repairs
Maybe you’ve noticed your furnace has needed more repairs recently. This unreliability can be a sign that it’s time for a new system. It’s normal to need repairs on your heating system, but you may need to consider a heater replacement if they are happening more frequently.
Yes, a new furnace will cost more upfront, but you’ll ensure you’re paying the lowest possible price on your energy bills with a new and functioning furnace, and you won’t be paying for regular repairs.
It’s Making Odd Noises
Just like with any other appliance, strange noises coming from your furnace are never a good sign. Even if your unit is still functioning well, strange noises, like buzzing or rattling, can indicate an issue.
Here are some common noises you might hear when your furnace is in trouble:
Don’t ignore these or any strange noises coming from your furnace. Some of them can point to a serious issue that can lead your furnace to stop working without warning.
Even worse, some sounds, like booming, can mean there’s a gas ignition issue, which can be dangerous. If you hear strange sounds, reach out to a professional to evaluate your furnace.
Your Home is Heated Unevenly
Another strong sign it’s time to replace your furnace is if your home has inconsistent temperatures throughout. True, a blocked vent could cause this, but if that’s not the case, it might be time for a heater replacement.
As furnaces age, they start to lose their ability to push heated air throughout your home. For example, your older furnace may have difficulty moving air high enough to heat the second story of your home.
If you notice performance issues and inconsistency in heat production, contact an HVAC technician who can inspect your furnace and let you know if you need repairs or if you should consider a heater replacement.
If you notice your heater has structural issues, like cracks or rust, that’s a major warning sign. You should never ignore issues you can visibly see, as they may indicate serious problems and even be a safety concern. If you see something that doesn’t look right, make sure to reach out to a professional.
The Furnace Flame is Yellow
The flame in your gas furnace should be blue. This color means it’s not emitting carbon monoxide, which is a dangerous and toxic gas. If your flame is yellow (or any other color besides blue), it can mean your furnace emits carbon monoxide, which can spell disaster for anyone in your home.
Here are some other signs your furnace is producing carbon monoxide:
- Soot stains or brown/yellow stains around the furnace
- Seeing soot or smoke throughout your home
- Condensation on the windows near the furnace
- Rust on the flue pipe or any pipe connection
Carbon monoxide is odorless and tasteless, so there’s no way you’ll know it’s in the air until it’s too late. If you notice any of the above warning signs, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional and take steps to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of everyone in your home.
Different Kinds of Furnaces
Once you’ve decided you need a heater replacement, you’ll face options. There are several kinds of furnaces available, and you’ll need an expert to help guide you through the process of selecting the right one for your home.
It’s common to use the same type of furnace you previously had so that you won’t have to make changes to your home’s infrastructure. However, it might be time to upgrade to a new type of furnace.
The common furnace installation options for your home are:
If your home doesn’t offer access to a gas line, you might default to an oil-filled heater. Oil is slightly less efficient than gas, so if you’re using an oil-filled heater to warm your entire home, it’ll likely cost a little more.
However, using oil-filled space heaters for individual rooms can be an excellent way to heat drafty areas, and they can be surprisingly energy-efficient too.
Oil furnaces will require some maintenance, as soot can build up. You’ll need to keep your chimney clean and change the oil filters. Still, they cost less upfront than new gas systems.
Electric furnaces contain electrical components that produce heat, which is then pushed out via airflow from the furnace. Modern electric furnaces are typically smaller, and the system may not cost as much as gas or oil furnaces.
But, even though the unit itself may be inexpensive, it will cost a little more to operate than a gas furnace because of electricity rates.
However, modern electric furnaces have a long lifespan and can last from 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance and care. Homeowners with old gas heaters often go with an electric furnace installation when it’s time for replacement because they can last so long without issue.
Gas is often the most cost-effective option for your new system, typically costing less to run than oil or electric furnaces. They usually require more maintenance, though, so it can be a trade-off in the long run.
A gas furnace has a long lifespan, often lasting about 15 to 20 years. They work by igniting gas from a municipal pipeline in the burner to create combustion.
One benefit of gas furnaces is that they can heat your home very quickly after you turn them on, so they’ll get it to your ideal temperature more rapidly than their oil or electric counterparts.
Choosing the right furnace is an important task, as you want to ensure your entire home can maintain a comfortable temperature. Consulting with professionals is the next step once you’ve noticed any of the warning signs above.
Contact the Dedicated Professionals at Airsheen Services
Airsheen Services has been serving our community in and around Cedar Park, TX, since 1999. We offer premier furnace products and services, and you don’t even need to search “furnace repair near me” to get started. Contact our team of dedicated professionals today to get a free quote and discuss your options.