The Invisible House
Home is a place where a family can relax and feel cozy. Some family members may assume that the household hums along in the background, invisible and dependable. The truth of the matter is that every system in the house needs attention. This includes everything from washing the dishes to maintaining the furnace. Someone in the house knows this perfectly well. When it comes to your furnace, how do you judge its reliability? How can you tell if it has aged to the point that it needs to be replaced?
Heating And Gas Bills Are Rising
The first suspicion many people have about their furnace comes when their heating bill suddenly increases. This may not be a clear sign that your furnace needs completely replaced, however. It may simply need a tune-up or repair. If this is the case, take a moment to do some math. If the repair is going to cost less than a third of a total replacement, then it’s worth doing. If a repairman gives you a higher estimate than that, then consider replacing it altogether. Any repair at this point is gaining you only a limited time before you face replacement again.
The House Has Become Uncomfortable
This usually shows itself in a subtle way. Each room seems to be a different temperature. Rooms are colder than you remember them being. If your furnace has a humidifier or dehumidifier attached to it, you may experience extreme humidity changes as well. This may sound like a vague complaint, but don’t hesitate to tell your HVAC technician about it. He’ll recognize it and know how to inspect your furnace.
What? I Can’t Hear You!
The noise level of a furnace will gradually change over time. Parts vibrate loose or wear out. Sometimes a homeowner will become convinced they have developed a hearing problem, but the problem may be their furnace! When the cold weather started, did you need to turn up your TV or talk louder? Take a moment and listen to your house. It may be trying to tell you something about your furnace.
Audit Your Home
Consider replacing your furnace to improve energy efficiency. An energy audit of your house will show how and where it leaks energy. Does your attic need new insulation? Are you losing energy through leaking ductwork? The problem may not be your furnace at all. On the other hand, upgrading to a more energy-efficient furnace can save you money.
How Old Is Your Furnace?
Most professionals in the HVAC industry will tell you fifteen years is the lifespan for a furnace. This is the time to replace it. Some furnaces last longer, but each year is a step closer to replacement. During that time, the furnace gets louder and the heating bills increase. Carbon monoxide can leak from an old furnace. This is dangerous. In some situations, the furnace breaks down in the middle of winter when it is working the hardest. An old furnace will become more unreliable right when you need it the most.
Something To Consider
There are more indications of furnace trouble that you may not recognize. If you think there may be a problem, now is the best time to do something about it. A low-cost inspection will help. The technician will check the system, run it, and test for dangerous leaks. He can make recommendations based on the age, efficiency, and safety of your furnace. He may say something you don’t want to hear, but it may be something you need to know. The comfort and safety of your family depend on it.