The first car I owned taught me a valuable lesson. I drove that car until the engine was practically dust, and I wasn’t able to get even a penny for it as a trade in. Unfortunately, the car salesman informed me that the vehicle I had loved for so long was nothing more than a worthless heap of scrap metal. That day, I learned the importance of knowing when to part with something while it still had some value rather than waiting until the cost of repairs exceeded what the item was worth.
Of course, there’s a big difference between a car and a furnace. The typical lifespan of a furnace is approximately 15 years; however, if you decide to trade it in and get a newer model, even if it still has some life left in it, it won’t have any value as a trade in. This means that it’s important to keep your furnace maintained properly. It’s clear that getting the most from your furnace by running it until it’s given its maximum lifespan is essential. Pay attention to any signs that might indicate it’s time for a tune-up, this will allow you to spot problems before they can affect the overall lifespan of your heater.
Sign #1 — You Have Neglected or Ignored Your Furnace for Too Long
Ask yourself when your furnace was last checked by a qualified HVAC technician. If it’s been a year or more, it’s time for an annual maintenance service call. The air filter will most definitely need replacing, as I recommend that this be done every month. Most Chicago HVAC companies will offer a monthly service plan for this type of maintenance, as well as annual checkups. For optimal performance and the well-being of your furnace, this regular service should be on your calendar to make it a habit you stick with.
Sign #2 — You Notice Water Pooling Around the Base of Your Furnace
Two substances in your furnace that could potentially leak are water and gas. Of course, a water leak will be far less dangerous than leaking gas, but it is still something that should be addressed quickly, especially if you want to make sure that your house stays warm. This problem is easy to spot, just check for pooling water under or near your furnace. Generally, this problem is the result of a condensate line that is clogged. This is something that is best left for an HVAC professional because it requires both plumbing and HVAC experience to fix it properly.
Sign #3 — You Notice the Smell of Gas
Unlike water, a gas leak is usually identified because you notice a gas smell near your furnace. If this happens, immediately shut down your furnace. Next, open the furnace and locate the supply valve for the gas and turn it off. Don’t turn on any lights or light any matches in your home — as soon as possible, contact a local HVAC service provider.
Sign #4 — You hear a Banging, Thumping, or Scraping Sound
A clear red flag that you need furnace repair is if you hear any type of weird noise coming from it. Whether it’s a scrape, bang, or thump, it’s an indication that something is wrong with your HVAC system. You’ll need a trained HVAC technician to determine the problem, but these noises aren’t going to go away by themselves.
Sign #5 — The Furnace is Delivering a Weak Air Flow
If you’ve ever noticed a reduction in airflow from your car’s heater, you probably know that a switch from free-flowing warm air to almost no air coming out of the vents is a sign of trouble. This can happen to the furnace in your home for several reasons, ranging from minor problems, such as a fan, to major issues involving belts and motors. However, the bottom line is still the same; you need a trained HVAC technician to diagnose the problem and take care of the necessary repairs.
Sign #6 — The Thermostat Isn’t Working
If you have a thermostat the requires you to keep turning it up higher and higher just to get a little heat in your home, this is a clear sign that your furnace needs the attention of an HVAC professional. The main job of the thermostat is to let your HVAC system know how much heat is needed, but if it stops working, it’s a problem for a trained professional. A malfunction with a thermostat is often due to an electrical problem, such as a tripped circuit breaker, blown fuse, or loose wiring. These problems can be dangerous and pose a risk of shock. This is a job for a trained HVAC technician.
Sign #7 — You Are Getting Unexpected High Utility Bills
If your heating bill goes up significantly and it’s not attributed to higher use, this can be a strong indicator that you need furnace repair. There are several things that could be causing this spike in your energy bills, including ductwork problems, but it’s difficult to determine the exact problem without the proper training. An experienced HVAC technician will have the expertise and equipment needed to detect the problem and provide you with the best course of action to remedy the issue.
Sign #8 — Your Furnace Starts Blowing Cold Air
It’s not good if your furnace starts blowing cold air rather than hot. The most common reasons for this type of problem are either issues with the pilot light, or the thermocouple, both of these are complex components requiring an experienced technician to evaluate. This is not something you should try to handle by yourself.
Sign #9 — Your Furnace is Frequently or Constantly Cycling
If your furnace repeatedly kicks on and off, this is an indication that it could be over cycling, meaning that it is running more frequently than it should. This problem might be caused by improper air circulation, a clogged air filter, or even problems with the thermostat. Just like some of the other problems listed above, this is something that will require a trained HVAC professional to determine the exact cause and provide the needed repairs.
Sign #10 — Your HVAC System Is Feeling Its Age
If you have a furnace that’s as old as a high schooler, it probably has some problems. As I mentioned earlier, a furnace has an average lifespan of about 15 years; this means it might last until its 13 years old or it might make it to 20 years. Often, just keeping up with regular repairs can help make a difference.