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The HVAC system of every home is critical to its health. It is, after all, these components that cool our homes when the summer sun blazes down upon us and keep us warm when the winter snow chills our bones.
This makes regular HVAC inspections and maintenance an important annual activity. In this short read, you will learn how long a furnace lasts, when to change it, maintenance tips, and more.
Lifespan of a furnace
On average, your home’s furnace should last you anywhere between 15 to 20 years. However, diligent maintenance and timely repairs conducted by a certified technician can extend that lifespan even more. The type of fuel used also makes a difference in its lifespan.
Most manufacturers offer homeowners a ten-year warranty on new furnaces, so you can have peace of mind for that period of time at the very least.
However, once your furnace crosses the 15-year mark, it may be time to replace it.
A common practice among homeowners is to replace gas furnaces with electrical furnaces since the latter boast of a longer lifespan: between 10 and 30 years on average. However, gas furnaces, even though they last only between 15 to 20 years, are sure to heat your home more efficiently and cost you less to operate than their electric counterparts.
Regular maintenance activities like periodically replacing dirty filters and sealing your home’s doors and windows during the winter months can help extend the lifespan of your furnace and save money on your heating costs.
Signs that you need a new furnace
While it may be a good idea to start looking for a new furnace as your current furnace turns 15 years old, there are some warning signs that you need a new one.
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Loud noises, such as screeching, humming, rattling, or popping emanating from your furnace are definite signs that you need to replace your furnace.
Your furnace will make loud, screeching noises if the blower motor, a belt, or the pulley in it is damaged. And while the blower motor does hum during regular operations as well, loud humming is a sign of irreparable damage.
Rattling noises, on the other hand, could be something as simple as loose ducts, or something as complex as a mechanical failure. So get the furnace checked by a certified HVAC contractor to know if you need to buy a new one.
Popping noises are caused when parts are affected by temperature changes inside the furnace. Another common sound that signifies damage is clicking. This, however, is a sign of regular wear and tear to your furnace ignition system or flame sensor. A technician performing standard repairs will be able to fix it for you.
Loud booming noise after a delay in your furnace ignition process means you have a severe gas emission issue. If this is followed by a lingering odor of gas, it means you will need to replace it at the earliest possible.
Also keep in mind that other heating systems with lower operational costs also exist, such as boilers, heat pumps, and ductless mini-split air conditioning systems.
If the furnace in your home is more than 15 years old and you start noticing that there are temperature fluctuations from one room to the next, it may be a sign that the furnace is losing efficiency. This may indicate that you need a new one, or at the very least, for a detailed inspection and repairs.
The part of your HVAC system that regulates the airflow throughout your home is an air duct called a register. If you notice considerable soot build-up near the register located close to the furnace, it is a sign that your furnace is producing too much carbon dioxide, and that it’s time to invest in a new one.
Other signs of soot buildup include indoor plants drying up and dying as well as an increased presence of dust and soot on surfaces inside your home. Soot is not only unhealthy to breathe in, but it also causes damage to wood floors and furniture.
High energy bills and repair costs
With older furnaces, it becomes more difficult for your HVAC system to evenly distribute heat throughout your home. When this starts to happen, the stress on your furnace also increases substantially, making it less energy efficient. This is bound to lead to a sudden and markable spike in your energy bills. This is a definite sign that you need a new one.
Another sign that the furnace may have lived its life is if you see yearly maintenance and repair costs increasing to almost half the price of a new one.
The color of the flame
If your furnace is healthy, you will see a clean, blue flame heating your home. However, be alarmed if you notice a yellow flame. This indicates that the furnace is producing an excess of carbon monoxide, which can be lethal if inhaled in large amounts. You ought to immediately reach out to certified HVAC technicians to get it replaced.
The cost factor
Buying a new furnace could cost you anywhere between $1,500 and $6,500. Mid-efficiency furnaces are priced between $1,500 and $3,000, while more efficient models could cost as much as $6,500. Furnace installation will put you down an additional $950 to $1,150.
While those costs may seem steep, remember that with timely inspection and maintenance, you will not need to invest in another furnace for at least another 20 years, if not more.