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Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Home Heating Unit

Home Heating Unit

According to HVAC experts, the average lifespan of a furnace is 10 to 15 years. After the 15th year, you need to consider upgrading your furnace. However, a lot of homeowners don’t pay attention to the age of their HVAC system components. Instead, the tendency is to go by the adage, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” It’s not until they have a major problem that they consider a furnace installation or replacement.

Regardless of how long you keep your furnace, problems will eventually arise because the heating systems age and stop working. So, it’s important to know the signs of a worn-out furnace and when to schedule a furnace replacement. Below, we look at signs it’s time to upgrade your furnace. Contact Cardinal Plumbing, Heating & Air if you have any further questions.

1. You Are Paying Too Much for Furnace Repair

As your furnace ages, the parts will begin to break down more often. Repairs will occur more frequently and cost more. The main reason for this is that the entire unit is failing. Every repair is simply a band-aid that keeps the unit together. Eventually, you will need to replace your furnace because the old unit is too expensive to repair. Plus, it is too dangerous.

A brand new furnace costs less to maintain, saving you hundreds of dollars in professional furnace repair over ten to 15 years. If the unit does break down prematurely, your warrant should cover any defective parts. Scheduling routine furnace maintenance also minimizes repairs.

2. The Furnace Is Too Noisy

A furnace is made of moving parts – specifically the motor and blower. You should expect to hear furnace noises as the unit turns on, turns off, and operates. Chirping, light rattling, and humming are all normal furnace sounds, as they indicate the furnace is working properly. These types of sounds should be temporary or slight, signifying normal performance.

If your furnace is loud and produces persistent noise, it indicates a problem. Some common furnace noises that should alarm you include:

Heaving Rattling

A persistent rattling sound from your furnace could mean that you have a cracked heat exchanger, which is the biggest cause of carbon monoxide leaks.

Loud Banging

Loud banging is a delayed ignition caused by dirty furnace burners. The dirt keeps the burners from igniting the gas, so the gas builds up. Once the gas ignites, it makes a loud banging noise. It’s a mini-explosion in the furnace.

Screeching or Squealing

A high-pitched squeal from your furnace usually results from an issue with the blower. The blower in your furnace is powered by a motor with bearings that can wear out because of age or overheating. Overheating is usually caused by dirt buildup or a bad capacitor.

Not all noise is a sign that you need to replace your furnace. When you hear a loud noise that will not go away, contact an HVAC company in Virginia to perform an inspection. From there, you can determine if you need to repair or replace your furnace.

3. Your Energy Bills Keep Climbing

Virginians will pay an average of $50 to $60 a month to heat their homes this winter. Keep in mind that heating the home is just a fraction of their total energy bill. Regardless of how much you pay to heat your house this winter, the bill should be consistent during the coldest winter months – December through February. 

If you notice your bill skyrocket during the peak winter seasons, there may be a problem with your furnace. 

  • There is a leak in the furnace or the air ducts.
  • The furnace is not producing as much heat as it should. 
  • There is a poor connection between the furnace and the thermostat.

The key issue is that the furnace uses too much energy to heat your house. Although there could be a problem with the thermostat or air ducts, your furnace could just be old or suffering from a problem that keeps it from producing and distributing heat.

4. The Furnace Is Not Cycling Properly

The average furnace cycles five to seven times during a 24-hour period. 

What do we mean by cycling?

  • You turn the thermostat to the desired temperature, triggering the furnace.
  • The thermostat reaches the desired temperature, and the furnace turns off.
  • The room/home temperature falls below the desired temperature, triggering the furnace.

Under normal circumstances, a cycle should last 15 to 20 minutes.  If you notice that the cycle lasts longer or the furnace never shuts off, it could indicate that it can no longer cycle. Call a certified professional HVAC technician to inspect the unit and decide the best action.

Note: A dirty air filter is the most common cause of short cycling. If your air filter is clogged with dirt, it won’t allow proper airflow to the heat exchanger. That can cause the furnace to overheat and force the high-limit switch to ride to the rescue by shutting the furnace off. Before you contact an HVAC company in Virginia, check to see if you need to replace the filter first. It may solve the problem.

Schedule a Furnace Inspection From Cardinal

Keep your family safe and warm this winter. Winterize your heating system by scheduling your home’s furnace inspection and maintenance. Cardinal Plumbing, Heating, and Air can help you with our pre-winter furnace checklist. Contact us today for an in-home assessment.

Fill out our contact form or call us today to schedule HVAC Services in Virginia.

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