When your trusty old furnace is starting to encounter regular problems, it’s time to evaluate your needs. In many cases, people hold on to an aging furnace for far too long and this can cost a lot of money with no appreciable gain. Over time, a furnace will lose a great deal of efficiency, this can be offset with regular maintenance, but it will degrade. The performance will diminish and yet the furnace will cost more to run and the frequent repairs are a real drain on your bank account. It can be hard to make the decision to replace your furnace if you’re unaware of the warning signs. In this article, we will examine four sure signs that your furnace should be replaced.

1.  Loud Noises

Under normal operating conditions, there may be some noises, such as the slight whooshing of air at the vents or an occasional click when the furnace turns on. Over time, most people grow used to these noises, they fade into the background and we may even miss them if they cease. But, if you start to notice loud and unusual noises that you’ve never heard before, it may indicate a problem. Even without any formal training as an HVAC specialist, it may be possible to identify the problem by sound alone. Let’s take a look at the various noises you may hear and what the source of the problem might be.

Booming Noises: If you can hear a deep booming sound, this can indicate a gas emission problem inside your furnace. The source of the noise is typically a delay that’s occurring in the ignition procedure and it’s hard to ignore. But, there is a deeper and more worrying aspect to this noise, if you can also smell an odor of gas. Both of these issues are a sure sign that you need to contact a local HVAC specialist and get your old furnace replaced.

Popping Sounds: When you hear clear popping sounds this usual cause is a fluctuation in temperature occurring inside your furnace. This is a sign that the equipment is not performing at optimal efficiency and it should be checked out by a heating professional.

Rattling Noises: The treated air is distributed throughout your home via a network of mostly hidden ductwork. The furnace also has mechanical moving parts that can become loose over time. Both of these key parts of your heating system can rattle if they are not secured or they are moving in an inefficient manner.

Humming Sounds: A low humming sound is normal when the furnace blower unit is working properly. A spinning fan will always create a certain level of noise, but this should be barely perceptible under normal operating conditions. But, if the humming sound is louder, it could indicate a damaged pulley or belt in the furnace.

Clicking Noises: The most common cause of a clicking noise is a faulty igniter or flame sensor in your furnace. The good news is that this is a very minor problem that your local HVAC specialist can fix quickly with a simple component replacement.

Screeching Noises: A loud screeching noise probably indicates damage to the blower unit belt, the pulley system, or the blower unit motor. There may be some friction between these components and that can cause further damage to other systems. Your local heating and cooling specialist can replace these components for you.

2.  Unusual Temperature Fluctuations

If you start to notice sudden temperature changes between different rooms in your home, it’s time to contact your local HVAC company. Once an aging furnace passes the 15 year mark, it will degrade in performance and the energy efficiency will be severely compromised. At this point, it will be unable to heat every room in your home and you may notice drastic temperature differences between lower and upper floors.

3.  Yellow Furnace Flames

An efficient gas furnace should produce clean blue flames for home heating. But, if you notice yellow flames from the gas burners, this is a sure sign that carbon monoxide is being produced. There may be a dangerous gas leak that requires an urgent repair and improper combustion may be a real problem. Carbon monoxide is known as “the silent killer” and it causes many fatalities every year. If you notice yellow flames that may be accompanied by an odor of gas, turn the furnace off and contact your local heating specialist.

4.  Rising Repair Costs and Higher Energy Bills

A furnace tends to reach the end of its useful lifespan at around 15 years. After this point, it’s much harder for the system to distribute the treated air to every room in your home. The equipment may work harder in a desperate attempt to compensate for this lack of performance. This in turn will raise the energy costs and the overworked equipment may fail more often. If you’re wondering how to evaluate the costs of repairs against a replacement, there is an easy way to make a determination. Take a look at the repair costs, if they exceed more than 50% of a replacement, it’s time to make a change. If your furnace is less than 10 years old, it’s almost always a better idea to get a repair for minor problems. But, even at this age, a poorly maintained furnace can fail and you can use a calculation to make a final decision. Simply multiply the repair cost by the furnace age and if that value is less than $5,000 the repair makes sense. As an example: let’s say you have an 8 year old furnace, the repair bill is $500, the formula here would be 8 x 500 = $4,000. As you can see, in this particular case, the repair is a better option when compared to the cost of a new furnace and installation.

In Conclusion

An average furnace is designed to last 15-30 years, but at the upper end of that range, it will perform poorly and the energy efficiency will be terrible. To keep your furnace working at optimal efficiency and to extend the lifespan, it’s a great idea to invest in regularly scheduled annual maintenance. If your gas furnace is 15 years old or more and it’s showing any of the above signs, it’s a better idea to replace it with a new furnace.