When To Euthanize Your Furnace

Everything has a life expectancy. Furnaces are no exception. Some furnaces are rated to last decades, but even the highest end furnace will wind down and need to be put out of its misery. As a homeowner, how do you know when it's time to make the decision to replace an old furnace? Here is a list of symptoms that let you know it's probably time to let your furnace shuffle off this mortal coil.

Efficiency Exasperation

You may have a sneaking suspicion that your furnace is cutting corners on you. Maybe the nights are getting a little colder, maybe you're noticing the unit running a lot, or maybe it takes a long time for the unit to turn on or get the house up to a comfortable temperature. No matter what the symptom, one of the first problems old furnaces experience is inefficiency. 

To test the efficiency of your furnace, take the time to listen to it as it comes on. Does it make lots of noise? Once it comes on, do you feel heated air coming through the vents quickly? Putting a thermometer in your home that isn't attached to your thermostat can help determine how efficient your furnace is as well, and help reassure you that you're not losing your mind, it really is that cold in your house.

Pilot Problems

Sometimes a pilot flame that is constantly going out, flickering, or yellow (as opposed to blue) is a harbinger of imminent furnace demise. These are often signs of trouble with the gas line. The gas line can become contaminated with dirt, clogged with impurities, and the whole system can shut down. If you're keen to avoid that, there are a few simple steps you can take.

Having your furnace professionally inspected and cleaned each year will not only keep the gas lines from causing furnace breakdown, but can also help prevent serious carbon monoxide leaks into your home. You should also be changing your furnace filters at least 3-4 times per year, more if you live in a very dusty climate. 

Heating Histrionics

Does your bathroom feel overly warm, but the living room is frigid much of the time? Uneven heating is another sign your furnace is on its last legs. As your unit gets older, it is less able to keep all areas of your home equally warm. Smaller rooms heat up faster and stay warm longer, whereas larger rooms often get the shaft (or draft, as the case may be). 

If you're noticing you feel warmer in some rooms than others, call in a technician from a firm like HomeSmart From Xcel Energy, who can clean your system for you. If that doesn't work, it's time to consider putting old rusty out of its misery.

Humidity Headaches

Have been waking up to windows visited by Jack Frost recently? While they are sometimes beautiful, a window with a lot of condensation on it is usually a symptom of an inefficient heating system. 

Part of your furnace's job is to remove humidity from the air. If your home is feeling really humid, that sucker is breaking down, and not performing to expectations. High humidity in a home can lead to mold, so don't waste time, and get your system checked out ASAP.

Like everything else in this life, furnaces wind down and need to be cared for as they age. Keeping a close eye on your furnace means seeing the warning signs that you're about to have to buy a new furnace. This allows you to plan for the expense, and can help you avoid having a furnace blowout the day the year's first big storm hits.