8 Signs Your Furnace Is About To Break Down

With winter fast approaching, now is a perfect time to take a look at your furnace and decide if it’s going to last you another year. Furnace replacement can be costly, but let us tell you—having an energy efficient furnace that will keep you warm all winter is better than paying too much on your heating bills and getting stuck in the cold when your system burns out!

While you’re looking at your furnace, ask yourself the following questions:

How old is your system?

A properly installed and maintained furnace will last around 10 – 15 years. Any older than that and you may start noticing drops in efficiency as well as an increase in the number of repairs you need. When these signs start popping up, it’s a good idea to start shopping around for a new furnace. After all, being able to choose carefully and decide on everything you want from your new system is much easier than needing to make an emergency decision!

Are your heating bills going up?

Gas and electric rates can fluctuate, but if your heating bills are increasing faster than normal, you may need to start thinking about furnace replacement. Furnaces start to lose efficiency as they get older, especially if they have not been properly maintained. Over time, the extra money you spend could equal the cost of a new furnace!

Do you need more frequent repairs?

Every furnace will need repairs at certain points during its life. But if you’re finding yourself spending $150 here and $300 there just to keep the system running, it might be time to look at new systems. Most furnace breakdowns happen during the last two years of the furnace’s life, so increasing repairs are a good indication that something is wrong.

How does your thermostat work?

Some of the most common furnace problems are miscommunications between the thermostat and the furnace. Walk around your house a bit. Do some rooms feel too cold while others feel too warm? Do you find yourself constantly having to adjust the thermostat in order to feel comfortable? If so, you may have a thermostat problem.

What color is your burner flame?

A good gas flame should burn a consistent, bright blue. A yellow or flickering flame indicates an incomplete burn, which is also a sign that your furnace is producing the highly toxic gas carbon monoxide. Other signs of carbon monoxide production include:

  • Streaks of soot around the furnace
  • No upward draft in your chimney
  • Excessive moisture on the windows, walls, and other cold surfaces
  • Excessive rusting on flue pipes, pipe connections, or appliance jacks
  • Water leaking from the base of the chimney, vent, or flue pipe
  • Rust on the vent pipe visible from outside

Is the furnace making strange noises?

Have you heard banging, rattling, popping, or squealing noises from your furnace? How about the sound of the furnace blower running constantly (or turning on and off constantly)? All of these noises start to pop up as your furnace nears the end of its life and may soon need to be replaced.

Have you and your family been feeling sick?

Symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide exposure include flu-like symptoms of nausea, light-headedness, headaches, etc., and as furnaces age they can develop cracks that allow the toxic gas to flow into your home. If you experience any of the symptoms we listed, open as many windows and doors in your house as possible, get everyone outside, and call the fire department or gas company to shut off the gas. Once it’s safe to go back into your home, call Peninsula for furnace service right away—we’ll take a look at your furnace and let you know if it can be repaired or if it’s time for furnace replacement.

Is the air in your home dry or dusty?

Modern furnaces are able to clean the air and add moisture for additional comfort where an older furnace cannot. Does your home feel stuffy or stale during the winter? Do your indoor allergies worsen in the winter, or do your nose, throat, and skin dry out? All of these are signs that it might be time to replace your furnace, as are frequent dust accumulation, static shocks, drooping plants, cracking wood floors and furniture, and musical instruments that can’t seem to stay in tune.

If you’ve noticed any of these things with your furnace, it might be time to call Peninsula! We can come out and help you decide if it’s time to replace your furnace, and we’ll even work with you to decide on the perfect new system that meets your needs and budget. If you’re interested in furnace replacement in Delaware or Maryland, don’t wait—call Peninsula today!

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