The furnace is the unsung hero of your home. It works away, day and night, quietly keeping your family warm and toasty.
But what happens when it’s not-so-quiet? Or what happens when your rooms are less warm and toasty. The big question is should you replace or fix your furnace when things are starting to go wrong, especially if this isn’t the first time you’ve had issues with it.
Fixing it will cost less than replacing it right now. But, when you look at the big picture, sometimes a new unit will save you more money over the long run.
Here are the questions you need to ask.
Do I Need to Replace My Furnace or Can I Fix it?
How Old is My Furnace?
In most cases, furnaces are built to last anywhere from 15-20 years. But, its life will depend on how well it’s been maintained during that time.
Your furnace needs regular:
- Filter changes
- Maintenance and cleanings
If you (or your home’s previous owners) have stayed on top of these things, you should expect a long life out of your furnace. If these things have been neglected, your furnace has to work harder, which may shorten its life.
What Types of Problems am I Having?
The frequency and severity of the problems you’re having is a huge factor. For example, if you’re just noticing a new smell, it could be as simple as a filter that needs to be changed.
However, carbon monoxide alarms going off points to a major problem. Carbon monoxide poisoning is very dangerous and needs to be taken seriously. Between 2010 and 2015, it killed 2,200 people, most of whom had no idea there was a problem.
If your alarm goes off, you need to call the fire department immediately and follow their instructions. In the end, you will most likely need a new furnace.
However, you can see the signs of a carbon monoxide leak, even if the alarm hasn’t gone off.
You may notice:
- Rusted pipes
- A yellow flame inside the furnace, instead of blue
- Moisture or condensation on the windows or walls
If you even suspect you have a problem, take action immediately.
Are My Heating Bills Going Up?
A 10 or 15-year-old furnace is never going to be as energy-efficient as a new one. However, if you’re noticing that your utility bills are rising, your furnace may be working harder or running less efficiently. If you see a spike in your utility bills, you should have your furnace looked at.
The problem could be something as simple as a dirty filter or a blocked vent. But, it could be a sign your furnace is aging and not running as efficiently as it used to.
The best rule of thumb is always to call a professional to look at things before you commit to investing in a new furnace. But, know that the older your system is, the more likely it is that a new furnace makes the most financial sense.