As we march deeper into winter and the snow continues to fall, we enter that time of year when our home furnaces will be put under the most significant strain. Given the often harsh and frigid nature of the winter in many parts of Canada, this time of great stress is exactly when you’ll need your furnaces to be at peak performance.
But what if you become one of those unfortunate souls whose furnaces decides to break down in the dead of winter? What if things get so bad that simple repairs just won’t cut it anymore? What if you find one day that the whole thing just needs to be replaced?
Furnace replacement can be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming work. To have to do so at the peak of winter can be nothing short of disastrous. So how can you preempt catastrophe and figure out whether your current furnace just doesn’t have long left to go?
To help make sure that you don’t become another unfortunate statistic, here are five telltale signs that your furnace needs to be switched out. Once you know what to look for, we at the Original Flame can use our over 13 years of furnace maintenance, installation, and replacement experience to keep you warm all season long, year after year.
1. Your Furnace is More Than 15 Years Old
We mention this sign first because it’s probably the simplest indicator and requires the least inspection or examination on your part to detect.
Alas, nothing lasts forever. With time, even the best-crafted natural gas furnaces will deteriorate. Of course, each and every unit is unique and will have a different precise shelf life from every other, but a good rule of thumb is that after 15 years, it may be time to change things out. This is true even if you’ve taken care to give your unit regular annual furnace maintenance checks and tune-ups.
To play it safe, you may want to call a technician over to inspect your furnace and give you recommendations on what to do. If the technician says that the unit is still fully functional, it may be safe to keep it around longer, but you should start taking extra care to look for other signs that it might be time to replace it.
2. Your House is Always Cold
This may seem like an almost unbelievably obvious thing, but obvious things can be signs of obvious problems. If your home is always cold, even if your furnace seems to be on, this is a clear indicator that something is wrong.
Exactly what may be wrong, however, is, unfortunately, less clear. You should be careful to remember that just because your house is always cold, even when the furnace is on, does not necessarily mean that it’s time to replace your furnace. Instead, you may be dealing with air leaks, or you may have a malfunctioning thermostat. One further confirmatory sign that should excite your suspicion, though is if your house is being heated unevenly — if some rooms are cold while others are warm.
To get to the bottom of exactly what is wrong, call over one of the Original Flame’s expert technicians to do a furnace service maintenance check. After this, you’ll have a clearer idea of what to do.
3. Your Heating Bill Suddenly and Mysteriously Rises
This is a gigantic red flag that will be sure to get your attention. A sudden massive spike in your heating bill can be a sign of many things, but generally speaking, none of them are good. Supposing that your energy and heating rates haven’t risen, a higher heating bill can mean that your furnace’s efficiency has taken a nosedive. If it now needs more heat and energy to provide your house with the same amount of warmth as it did before, that’s a surefire sign that things are deteriorating.
4. Your Home Becomes Extremely Dusty
If you find that your furnace’s heat registers have been billowing out dust and swamping your whole house with it, you should become suspicious that your furnace may be ready to give up the ghost. Normally, a well-functioning furnace takes in dirty air from the outside, filters it, heats it up, and pushes it throughout each and every room of your home. Significant dust buildup means that your furnace’s filters are probably shot. And if they aren’t working properly, other things likely aren’t as well.
5. Furnace Repairs and Maintenance Checks Start Mounting Up
Throughout, we have repeatedly mentioned the importance of calling technicians for furnace service and confirmatory maintenance checks. As important as maintenance is, though, too much of it can become like putting a band-aid over something that’s fundamentally broken.
Home furnaces that require increasing amounts of maintenance at increasingly frequent intervals should probably be let go of. At some point, it will become wise and prudent to just cut your losses and replace the whole system. Instead of paying over and over to conduct repairs, contacting the Original Flame and asking about our furnace installations may be just what’s in order.
So… What Can You Do About All This?
Let us be absolutely clear that none of the indicators that we’ve discussed above are absolutely definitive all on their own. Rather, when you notice one of them, your ears should perk up and you should pay attention in case you notice any more. In addition to the indicators mentioned on this list, you should also be on the lookout for other things like loud noises suddenly coming from your furnace, leaks and general moisture buildup, and the appearance of a yellow burner flame instead of a blue one. These are yet further signs.
The more of these signs that you see at once, the more likely it is that your unit will need to be replaced. Having some general information about HVAC systems — of which natural gas furnaces are apart — can also help you to orient yourself. You can find some of that here.
But let’s say that you’ve noticed all of the above things and more and become worried that your furnace is on its last legs. What then?
First, we recommend calling one of our technicians over to confirm things for you beyond any doubt. Once that happens, feel free to choose any of the new home furnaces that we have in our collection. Once you make your choice, our teams will schedule furnace installations for you and set you on the path to a warm and cozy winter.
The Original Flame prides itself on being the premier furnaces installation and maintenance company in the Northeastern Ontario area, especially in Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes. If you in any way notice that your old furnace may be down for the count, don’t worry! With our expert furnace replacement services, we can set you up with a new one and revitalize your home for the winter.