Heating and cooling systems are essential for any home, but when, in the dead of winter, your furnace starts acting up, it can spell trouble. The average lifespan for a typical furnace is around 15 to 20 years, but this is with proper upkeep and maintenance. If you’ve recently bought a home, it can be tricky to know if the previous owner took care of their unit. Here are a few warning signs to look out for, so that you don’t have to risk your unit failing when you need it most.
6 Signs Of A Failing Furnace
- Age. As stated above, the average life of a furnace is around 15 to 20 years, and by looking up the model number you can usually ascertain the age of your unit. Once it starts to get too old, it may be time to start saving for a new one. In the meantime you can repair your furnace, and perform basic maintenance to keep it going, but don’t think this is a permanent fix. If you start noticing too many issues, it will be better to invest in a new unit, rather than spending money on numerous furnace repairs.
- Cold Air. One of the biggest telltale signs that your unit is failing is no warm air. If your unit is blowing cold air, this could be a sign of failure with multiple components. The blower fan, heat exchangers, or pilot light could be malfunctioning, which can signal greater issues building up. While these issues can be repaired by a technician, it’s also time to start looking into a new unit.
- Sounds. HVAC systems always make sound, unless they’re brand new, or hidden away where you can’t hear them. However, unusual popping or squeaking sounds could signify that something has come loose within the unit. Calling a technician for an inspection can help identify the problem, but be sure to ask them how long they think the unit will last. If a professional tells you to start thinking about replacement, it’s best to head their judgement.
- Heating Bill. If you haven’t been using your furnace more than usual, but are seeing an increase in your energy bill, it could be a sign that your unit is on its last legs. If you unit is unable to maintain a constant temperature, and is instead overworking itself to try and do so, it’s time to start shopping for another heating unit.
- Yellow Pilot Light. In a gas furnace the pilot light should appear blue when you look at it; however, if you check it and find that it looks yellow that’s a definite warning sign. Not only does it signify the need for repair, but if coupled with rusting, condensation, or the smell of rotten eggs, it could point to a carbon monoxide leak. If that is the case, turn the unit off immediately and call a technician before you do anything else. Breathing carbon monoxide is poisonous, and if a leak is present you don’t want to take the risk.
- Dust. Dust is always going to exist in a house, no matter how much we wish it didn’t. However, if you notice dust coming from vents when the heat is running, it could be a sign of wear. This is because the furnace itself is having a harder time filtering the air that it’s drawing from the outside, and while changing filters does help, the unit itself may simply be getting too old to keep up the task. Get an inspection and see what a technician recommends.