Replacing a heating system in the middle of a cold northeastern Wisconsin winter is no fun at all. Also, the cost to replace the heating system in an emergency situation may be higher than a well-planned furnace replacement. Asking yourself these questions will help you decide to schedule any needed furnace repairs or plan in advance for the best time to replace your furnace or boiler.
1) How old is your furnace?
The typical lifespan for furnaces that have been properly installed and maintained is approximately 12 to 15 years. Older heating systems will start needing more frequent repairs. Additionally, the efficiency of all or heating systems will decrease. If your heating system is beginning to need replacement parts and frequent repairs, it is probably a good idea to start thinking about a replacement.
2) Is your pilot light color blue?
On gas heating systems the burner flame should be a bright blue color. A furnace warning sign is a flickering or yellowish looking flame. This is an indication that the gas is not burning completely. It is also an indicator that your heating system may be producing a higher than normal level of carbon monoxide. Other carbon monoxide warning signs are:
• Indicators of soot streaks around the furnace.
• A lack of strong upward draft in your chimney.
• Visible signs of excessive moisture on exterior windows and walls.
• Visible signs of water pooling at the base of your chimney or flue pipe.
• Visible signs of rust on your vent pipe.
3) Is your furnace making loud noises?
No furnace is silent, but loud and persistent noises can indicate a serious problem. Pay attention to the sounds you hear and, if possible, describe them to your HVAC contractor when he or she inspects the system. Squealing and whistling noises may come from belt or fan issues while banging or groaning can result from broken and loose internal components.
4) Furnace won’t stay on?
Older furnaces and boilers may have a hard time getting started. If your furnace won’t stay lit or won’t stay on, this can be an indication that your heating system needs attention. A furnace repair may be needed to replace wiring that has become faulty, replace the malfunctioning thermostat wire, blower fan, condensate pan, or another component in the heating system. If your boiler or furnace keeps going out, that’s a sign it’s time to invest in a new heating system.
5) Does your house have cold spots or ice accumulation?
If you are noticing some rooms in your house are colder than others or that your heating system is just not doing its job, it’s likely that your furnace is not heating enough to keep your house warm anymore. Aging boilers and furnaces lose their capacity to heat your home effectively. Although a repair can provide a temporary solution, installing a new heating system that’s properly sized for your home’s heating needs is the best option.
Another warning sign is an ice dam forming on your roof near the furnace exhaust vent. This could be an indication of heat leaking from ductwork in the attic. Contact Wulf Brothers to inspect your furnace, vents, and duct work.
6) Does your family keep getting sick?
Low levels of carbon monoxide may cause symptoms that include headaches, nausea, lightheadedness and other flu-like symptoms. When heating systems get old and are pushing their lifespan, cracks develop in the heating system that permitted gases like carbon monoxide to filter into the home. If you and your family are experiencing these types of symptoms it may be due to carbon monoxide. If you suspect this is the case, be sure to open windows to air out the house and leave the home.
7) What is the indoor air quality in your home?
Your furnace system has a direct impact on the air quality in your home. A poorly maintained system may move dirt, bacteria, and other foreign particles throughout your home along with the heated air. You may notice more floating dust in your air, along with frequent coughs, colds, and other respiratory ailments. If you or someone in your family has allergies, the amount of foreign particles available may also cause symptoms like itchiness, watery eyes, and headache. Sometimes, resolving furnace-related air-quality problems is as easy as replacing the filter. In more serious cases, the ductwork and unit may need to be professionally cleaned.
7) Have you needed multiple heating repairs?
Have you required more than one heating repair on your furnace or boiler within the last two years? Just like cars break down more often as they age, so does your home’s furnace or boiler. As your need for repairs increases, you should start considering and planning for a new heating system. Keep in mind, the average lifespan for furnaces is typically 12 to 15 years.
If you have questions about your furnace, or need a replacement contact Wulf Brothers. 920-743-5587