How to Tell if your Furnace is on its Way Out

Text-only Preview

How to Tell if your Furnace is on its Way Out
Most people wait until their HVAC system completely fails before considering a
replacement. Long before that happens, your furnace will begin showing signs of giving up
the ghost. Here are a few things that might indicate your unit is on its way out.
#1. You’ve encountered much higher heating costs
Furnaces tend to become less efficient as they age. Near the end of their lifespan, you might
notice a drastic drop in efficiency, leading to heating bills that are much higher than normal.
You may also observe hot and cold spots, or need to set your thermostat a few degrees
higher than normal. A newer, high-efficiency model will help you lower costs and could
allow you to recoup your investment within five years.
#2. Strange noises are coming from your HVAC system
All heating and cooling systems make some noise. However, when those sounds become
unusual or especially loud, this could indicate you have a more serious issue going on. Loud
noises are usually accompanied by major repairs or a complete breakdown of your system.
Consider a replacement if you notice clanging, popping, squeaking, screeching, squealing, or
any other strange sound.
#3. You have a carbon monoxide problem
If your pilot light is yellow rather than blue, this indicates your furnace is producing carbon
monoxide. You might also notice a rotten egg smell or excess soot building up next to your
furnace. Carbon monoxide leaks are most often caused by cracked heat exchangers, which in
themselves can be very expensive to replace. There is no safe level of carbon monoxide
inside a home, so do not be fooled into thinking you can continue running your furnace until
it breaks down.
#4. Dust is being spit out into your home
Your furnace is supposed to filter dust particles before blowing air out of your vents. So long
as your filters are clean, you should not notice clouds of dust coming out of your unit when
it kicks on. If you see thick layers of dust on your furniture or observe it spilling out of your
registers, this is a sign that your HVAC system can no longer perform its intended function.
#5. Your furnace blows out cold air rather than warm air
If you notice cold air coming out of your vents, this is a sure sign that your furnace is not
working properly. In many cases, cold air is accompanied by sweating or excess moisture
near your registers. This has the potential to damage hardwood floors, and leaves your
home more susceptible to developing mold. In other words, you could be on the hook for
more extensive repairs unless you go ahead and have your furnace replaced.
It might also be time for a replacement if you are constantly needing repairs or encounter a
single repair that is more than half the cost of a new unit. Consider the age of
your furnace and the exact nature of your problem to determine when a new HVAC system
is in order.