Will Your Furnace Make It This Year?
Your furnace is showing all the signs that it’s time for an upgrade:
- It’s older than 15 years old. (The average age of replacement is 18 years and failures follow a bell curve that matches that age)
- Your utility bills have been growing
- The unit is noisy, with odd bumps and squeals when it kicks on
- You’ve spent money on repairs recently
- The burner flame is a bright yellow, instead of a cool blue
- Your home was chilly all winter
- The air in your home is painfully dry
But the question is, should you wait to replace the furnace until next winter, or should you replace it right away? After all, summer is almost here and it’s going to be warm for months and months. Why not shut the unit down and deal with the problem once you’ve had some time to build up a financial reserve?
Spring: The Perfect Season for Furnace Repairs
Replacing your furnace in the Spring comes with two distinct advantages, mainly:
Cost Savings – Tucked snuggly between heating season and air conditioning season, most heating and cooling contractors are willing to wheel and deal to keep their crews busy. Distributors are trying to shift inventory to air conditioners and will occasionally offer discounts to move furnaces.
Convenience – Scheduling installation and maintenance during an off season means that you’ll have more flexibility in choosing a time that works for you and your family, and you won’t be stuck with a dead or malfunctioning unit when you need it at the end of the year. Fall/Winter cold snaps can sneak up on you before you know it, so be ready ahead of time.
What about Repairs?
In every decision there is a cost/benefit analysis to do. Repairs are the way to go early in a furnace’s life. Most parts are covered under warranty and a labor-only invoice is usually very reasonable. After the 10 year mark, though, parts are no longer covered. Knowing the lifespan of a furnace is 18 years +/- gives us an end goal to weigh in. Typically even at 15 years for moderate breakdowns we will advocate for a repair. However, the bigger the failure the later in life will push us to recommend a replacement. Routine maintenance can usually catch small issues before they become big ones.
You should also be on the watch for any signs your furnace is unsafe and needs immediate service. These signs include:
Headaches, Disorientation, or a Burning Feeling in Your Nose or Eyes
These are symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be a result of a damaged heat exchanger. Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous, and should be guarded against with the use of a carbon monoxide detector and yearly inspections.
Rapidly Increasing Energy Bills
If your furnace is malfunctioning, it will use far more energy and provide far less heat, which can be an important sign that something has gone wrong within the unit.
Multiple Service Calls
Our happiest customers tend to be the ones we don’t see often. At a certain age, furnaces begin to nickel and dime the owners, and we are out multiple times in a year trying to keep things going. Our service staff is extremely talented and dedicated, however there gets to be a point where struggling to keep a furnace that is actively trying to die becomes a fool’s errand.
Loud, Unusual Noises or Squeals
Many furnaces come on with a little bump. But loud or unpleasant sounds are not ok, and should be checked out right away.
Need an Expert Opinion?
The heating and cooling technicians at Baumann & DeGroot are always happy to listen to you and offer an expert opinion when needed. We’ve been providing high quality one-stop heating and cooling service in West Michigan for over 20 years, with affordable pricing and great customer service guaranteed!