Replacing a furnace isn’t easy. It’s quite an expensive undertaking. It’s common to see people with this question on their lips – when should I have my heater replaced? They don’t know what to consider before replacing their furnace. If you are contemplating replacing a heater, below are some signs worth looking at:
1. Life expectancy
The average lifespan of most furnaces, oil or natural gas furnaces especially, is 15-25 years, when professionally maintained. If your heater is already hitting its 15th year or more, be prepared to bid it farewell soon. Start making plans, start budgeting for a new furnace. Don’t wait till it stops working! You might end up with the wrong heater if you do not plan or budget.
2. Frequent repairs with exorbitant price
You would notice your furnace breaks down once in a while. Yes, that’s normal! But watch out when it starts breaking down now and again – incessantly. This happens typically near its ‘retirement age.’ It’s unwise to keep spending on repairs when you could use the same amount to install a new furnace and have your old one replaced. It’s advised that when the cost of repairing your furnace is 50% or more of the price for a new furnace, you should have it replaced!
3. Increased energy bills
With the increasing age of your furnace, its efficiency drops. The annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) is used to rate your furnace efficiency. AFUE is the ratio of annual heat output to annual power consumption by a furnace. A new furnace would use 100% power input to give 97% heat output; 3% of heat lost through leaks and ventilation. An aging furnace, about 15 years or more would consume100% power, only to give you 78% or less heat output. There, you could be spending much more in keeping your old furnace than you would have saved when you have it replaced with a new furnace. Additionally, your old furnace could run for hours, increasing your energy bills yet giving very little heat output. If your energy bills keep going higher as the years go by, it’s time to shop around for a new furnace.
4. Your rooms have different temperatures
Do you notice uneven temperatures in various areas of your apartment? Do you keep going to the thermostat to adjust it to achieve warmth in your apartment? If yes, it’s time to consider having a new efficient furnace
5. Furnace flame becomes yellow
Normally, especially for gas furnace, the flame is blue with a tint of yellow flame at the core. If you notice the flame has become yellow entirely, then it’s time to have your furnace replaced with a new one. This yellow flame means your heater might be producing carbon monoxide, a dangerous gas. Confirm this with the presence of sooth around your furnace, excess moisture in the cold areas like your wall and windows. Carbon monoxide is both colourless and odourless so you can only detect them with carbon monoxide detectors! Install them in all areas of your home and have them tested and maintained twice in a year.