It’s about to start getting cold, (we hope at least), so that means it’s time to make sure your furnace is up to the task of keeping up with this crazy Alabama weather this winter. As with most things in life, your furnace won’t last forever. Here are a few tips to help you identify when your furnace might be ready to throw in the towel.
1. Your energy bills are steadily increasing.
Older furnaces have to work harder to produce heat, and as a result, your energy bills and repair costs will steadily increase. Even if there isn’t a noticeable repair that needs to be done, you’ll still come out cheaper in the long run if you purchase a more efficient furnace unit.
2. Your furnace is more than 15 years old.
A modern furnace has a typical lifespan of around 20 to 30 years. While it is advisable to consider shopping for a new one at around the 15-year mark, there are also plenty of ways to make sure you get the most out of your existing furnace. For starters, be sure you’ve got the breakers and shut off switches properly set. Also, make sure you swap out dirty, clogged filters for clean ones that allow for proper airflow.
If you’re looking to save on your heating bill, one of the most obvious ways is to turn the heat down and wear extra layers. You can also seal areas within your home that leak heat, such as doors and windows. A smart thermostat can also be a great investment. It learns your routine over time and can adjust the temperature for you, saving you lots of money in the long run.
3. The rooms in your home are different temperatures.
As a furnace gets ages, it can become less efficient until it loses the ability to distribute heat evenly throughout the house. As a result, some rooms can be considerably cooler than others.
4. Your home has soot around the registers.
A furnace register is a ventilation duct cover that can be opened and closed.
If you find soot (or dust/rust) around these areas within your home, then it means that your furnace has too much CO2. Difficulty keeping a clean house aside, this can cause excessive dryness which can damage furniture, flooring, and plants. It can also cause itchy throats, dry eyes, as well as respiratory issues when inhaled. If you ever see a build-up of soot near your registers, it’s probably time to get a replacement.
5. Your furnace has become extra noisy.
Furnaces can be kind of noisy, but if that noise gets louder over time, then you may want to consider a replacement. Possible telltale signs can come in the form of:
- Rattling: This can indicate unsecured ductwork, loose screws, sheet metal, or even the lower furnace motor not being properly balanced.
- Popping: This happens when parts inside of your furnace heat and cool in response to temperature changes.
- Humming: Your fan motor is probably going to make a bit of noise, but if it’s to the point of disruption, you might need a furnace blower motor replacement.
- Screeching/Squealing: If you hear these noises, you should probably assume your blower motor or inducer is damaged or worn out. It could also be caused by a loose bearing, deteriorating belt, or an issue with the pulley holding the belt.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How much is a furnace motor?
The average furnace motor replacement can run about $450, including parts and labor.
How do I check the furnace blower motor?
To check a furnace blower motor, use a capacitor tester. First, be sure that the capacitor is discharged before using it for safety reasons. Make sure that the microfarad reading is within 10% of the rated capacitance on the capacitor, which will be a number listed either uF or MDF. If it doesn’t match the rating, then the capacitor needs to be replaced. You can also contact one of Mr. Dan’s HVAC Professionals to check your furnace blower motor for you.
Do high-efficiency furnaces actually save money?
Absolutely. High-efficiency furnaces are rated by the government by how much gas comes in vs. how much heat is delivered into the home. Furnaces that are higher in efficiency are safer and much cleaner to operate. A high-efficiency blower motor (ECM) is a variable speed motor. New ECM motors run between 60 watts and 100 watts, saving the average homeowner about $250 a year!
How do I know if I have a carbon monoxide problem?
You don’t. Since you cannot see, smell, or taste carbon monoxide, you typically only notice the problem when you start to have headaches or other severe, life-threatening problems. At Mr. Dan’s, we suggest that all homes have carbon monoxide detectors installed.
Contact one of our helpful HVAC Professionals today to assist you with all of your HVAC needs!