Sure, most Houstonians complain about the summer heat and humidity, but as soon as the winter comes around we get to complain about the cold, too. It might be cold for 3 days and hot for a week, but during those 3 days of cold weather we all rely on the furnace to keep us warm. And just like having your air conditioner checked in the spring, it’s just as important to have your furnace checked in the early fall to make sure it’s working correctly.
But then the annual furnace check slips to the bottom of the to-do list – which is easy since we don’t use the furnace very often. But it’s when we forget that things start to go wrong. So how do you know if your furnace is starting to go downhill? There are many signs that are visible to HVACtechnicians, but to the average homeowner recognizing the more technical signs can be difficult. But not to worry because if you follow the advice listed below you will be able to understand your furnace almost as well as a licensed John Moore Services HVAC technician (well, not quite!).
“The life of a heater depends on what make and model you purchase and what type of warranty you have,” said John Moore Services HVAC Coach Lewis Yancey. “Different parts of the furnace will have a different warranty and some will last longer than others. Heat exchangers usually have a 20-year warranty, but the blower and control boards have around a 5-year warranty. All this depends on usage and maintenance. And knowing when to replace your whole furnace or just some of its parts all depends on what is breaking down and how old your furnace is. For example, you may meet or exceed the cost of a new furnace and it might make sense to go ahead and replace the whole thing.”
How do I know if my furnace isn’t working correctly?
If you make a point to pay attention to the age of your furnace and the way it responds when turning on and off, you will be able to detect certain signs that are indicators of it not working correctly. Your furnace might need replacement if:
You hear funny noises: When you turn your furnace on and off, you can expect to hear some noise, but if you hear excessive rattling, popping, banging, or squealing coming from your unit, you have a problem. Noises are an indicator that your furnace or certain parts of it are about to give out. As soon as you hear these strange sounds it is important to call in a professional because the longer you wait, the more damage will be done to your furnace and other parts of your heating and air conditioning system.
You smell strange odors: A slight smell is to be expected when you turn on your furnace for the first time during the winter. But if the smell doesn’t go away and seems to get stronger as the days go by, there is an issue. Burnt smells, musky smells, and other off-putting odors are your furnace warning you that parts of it are not working correctly. The problem might be with the blower or the motor, and the only way to tell is to have a licensed heating and air conditioning technician come check it out.
Your furnace is old: Maybe you have had your furnace for over 10 years and have never had a major problem with it. However, just because you have never had a problem doesn’t mean you won’t, especially as it ages. As your furnace gets older its parts are no longer able to work as efficiently as they once did. And because of its age you might wake up one morning and find that your furnace completely stopped working while you were asleep. We recommend having your furnace checked out if it is older, even if you have had no problems. It is better to be safe and warm than to take the chance and be cold.
You notice higher bills: Different parts of your furnace use up different amounts of electricity. And the blower motor and fan use up a lot, especially if they are about to break down. If you notice your electric bill is exceptionally high, the problem could be that these parts are about to go out and are pulling more amps than they should.
You might not be a professional HVAC technician, but if you know what to look for you can be aware of a potential problem before it becomes a real one. If you notice any of the signs listed above, call out a professional to come take a look. Our HVAC technicians are thoroughly trained to detect even the smallest problem and can help you decide if replacing your furnace is the best option for your household. And remember, now is the time to check your carbon monoxide alarm, and if you don’t have one now would be a good time to get one installed. (Read more about installing Carbon Monoxide detectors here) Give us a call now, and stay warm all winter!