It’s the coldest night of the year. You’re cozy in your warm living room watching “Avengers”. Slowly you begin to notice a temperature drop as your furnace kicks the bucket. You shake your fist at the heavens and curse Murphy’s Law.
Knowing the signs and how to prevent sudden furnace failure will help you avoid such a disaster.
Signs of an aging furnace
Higher utility bills – As furnaces age, they use more energy to provide the same heat. Increased consumption over time is a good indicator that your furnace is reaching its end of life.
Noises – A furnace on its way out will bang, rattle, squeal and otherwise protest its demise. As soon as you notice it, call a professional.
A cold house – Air blowing through the vents feel cool if the burner or heat exchanger are malfunctioning. If the airflow is warm but too low, the fan is the problem.
Burner flame color should be blue in natural gas furnaces. If it’s yellow, that indicates incomplete combustion, which creates more carbon monoxide. Your burner will need to be checked and cleaned or replaced immediately.
Health issues – If your furnace is producing more carbon monoxide, your family’s health will be worse than usual. Similarly, if there’s an increase in respiratory illnesses, your furnace could be circulating dust, mold and other allergens.
So how do you prevent the breakdown? Regular maintenance is key, especially as winter approaches.
- Check the burner to make sure the flame is the right color and is burning steadily.
- Check fan operation to ensure the air is being blown and distributed. The fan blades must be cleaned and the motor inspected by a professional.
- Clean or replace the filter. If your filter becomes too caked with dust, there’s a domino effect in your furnace as the airflow drops, wreaking havoc with other components.
- Make sure your combustion air intake is clear. If the furnace doesn’t get enough air, incomplete combustion will take place, generating carbon monoxide.
- Have a professional look at the heat exchanger for cracks that can leak gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide into your home.
- Also have a professional look at the control system to make sure it keeps the furnace running.
Analyze whether to replace or repair
A typical furnace life cycle is 15-20 years. With proper care, you can prolong its life but the higher fuel and maintenance could potentially pay for a new furnace.
If you’re concerned about your furnace, give us a call today and we’ll make sure you stay toasty warm for the season!