When Should I Replace My Furnace?
We decided that if we were going to do this whole blogging thing, we wanted to create a blog that would provide East Nashville homeowners with useful information about heating and cooling. Which is pretty standard blog stuff. Yes, we’re going to answer your frequently asked questions; however, we’re going to do it the Cumberland Cooling way. Which, with any luck, will be a little more fun and a lot more “real” (for lack of a better word) than your average heating and air conditioning blog.
So, here we go.
Now that it’s (finally) officially cold and you’re cranking up the heat for the first time in eight months, we figured November was the appropriate time for a post on furnaces. Specifically, we’re going to shed some light on the age-old “Should I repair my furnace? Or, is it time to bite the bullet and replace my heater?” debate.
We can’t make the decision for you, but we can offer some sage advice on the subject, since we know a thing or two about furnace installation and repair.
Your Furnace is Older Than Your Cowboy Boots
Although the age of your furnace is a pretty significant factor in the replace vs. repair debate, it’s not the only consideration. As with so many things, the functional lifespan of a furnace (and its efficiency) can vary widely. We’ve seen boilers from the ’50s cranking along merrily (if noisily and inefficiently, but hey, they work) and we’ve replaced carbon-monoxide-oozing units in their tweens.
Generally speaking, however, a well-maintained furnace will last 15-20 years. And around here, we’re big fans of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage. Of course, if your furnace is turning 20, it would probably be a good idea to start planning and saving for a new furnace.
Don’t know how old your furnace is? Take a close look at your unit: the label should have a manufacture date. If you can’t find one, give us a call, and we’ll take a look and provide you with a free replacement estimate and honest advice.
Your Furnace is Too Friendly with Your Furnace Repair Person
Do you feel like your furnace has feelings for your HVAC company? We’re nice guys, but even we have to say that that’s not a good thing. If you’re starting to experience frequent breakdowns and increasingly expensive repairs, your furnace is definitely trying to tell you something. A good rule of thumb is this: if your furnace has been around for a while and the cost of the repair is 50% the cost of a brand-new, energy efficient furnace, then you should consider replacing it.
Your Energy Bills Are Going Up
This one can get a little tricky. Fluctuations in gas and electric prices may be partially to blame, but furnaces tend to become less efficient as they age, especially if they haven’t been properly maintained. When this happens, your furnace may have to run longer and cycle more often to provide the same amount of heat that you and your cats have come to know and love.
Then again, you may just need to have your ducts inspected, sealed and reinsulated. It’s way cheaper and far more rewarding than replacing your furnace.
Your Furnace is Poisoning You
We’re being a little melodramatic here, but seriously, carbon monoxide is no joke. Get a CO detector today. Really. Go do it. Here’s what the CDC has to say about it, “Carbon monoxide, or ‘CO,’ is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you.”
Talk about drama!
Okay, now that you’re back from your Depot run, here’s what we have to say about your furnace’s relationship to carbon monoxide. As a furnace ages, it runs the risk of developing cracks in the heat exchanger, which may allow carbon monoxide to leak into your home undetected.
Here’s a little more true-story drama, courtesy of the CDC: “The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.”
Should you experience any of these symptoms, open some windows and immediately give us a call.
If you’d rather not wait until you’re freezing to death and feel like death, here are a few possible indications of a carbon monoxide leak: streaks of soot around your furnace, an absence of an upward draft in your chimney, and rust or excessive moisture around flue pipes, connections, the vent pipe, or other cold surfaces.
Still trying to decide whether it’s time to repair or replace your furnace? Give us a call at 615-576-0742 and we’ll help you out. Estimates are always free.