How Do I Know When It’s Time To Replace My Furnace?
Your furnace is the heart of your HVAC system. So, it’s important to make sure it is always running its best. Especially in an area like Edmonton, Alberta where temperatures can drop to extreme measures. Having your system fail, particularly in the winter, can not only be dangerous to your health but can cause further problems such as frozen pipes. At Legacy Heating and Cooling, it’s not about selling you the newest model but making sure you have the most efficient and safe system in your household.
Just like Murphy’s law states, “Things will go wrong in any given situation if you give them a chance.” Don’t give your furnace a chance to fail you. Make sure to set up annual maintenance visits with Legacy Heating and Cooling today. That way, you can anticipate future problems, repairs or replacements and be financially prepared for the worst.
Some signs that may indicate you need a new furnace to include:
- The age of your furnace. Furnaces die out at an average of 18-20 years. If your furnace is nearing or exceeding the age of 15 years, then it’s definitely time to start looking into replacing your furnace. Statistically, the efficiency of furnaces 15 years and older has dropped below 80%. This means they break down more often, require more energy and simply will not perform in a way that suits the needs of your household. A good rule of thumb is, no matter the age of the furnace if the cost to repair is 50% of the cost of a new furnace, you should replace it.
- Constant repair bills. After a while, the integrity of the mechanisms that run your furnace will deteriorate due to wear and tear over the years. They will break down more often than not, costing you more than it would cost to replace the furnace itself in the long run. If you don’t have a maintenance plan with your HVAC technician, this deterioration will happen more quickly, which could cause you to have to replace your furnace sooner.
- Higher energy bills. Because of this natural deterioration, your unit will have to work harder to try and meet the needs of your household. This causes an uprise in energy needs, costing you more monthly.
- Uneven heat distribution. When your furnace is rundown, it may not have the power to evenly distribute heat through your home properly anymore. This can cause a number of complications in your home.
- Yellow flames. Your natural gas furnace should have a crisp and clear blue flame. This flame signifies a healthy and clean system with no leaks or safety issues. You can check the flame by checking through the furnace’s cover vent. If you happen to see a yellow flame, it’s within your best interest to contact a professional. A yellow flame may indicate a number of issues. It could be something as simple as the heat exchanger or burner needs cleaning or something as dangerous as a leak of carbon monoxide or other natural gas leaks.
11 more furnace tips to help you through the year.
The purpose of the furnace filter is to prevent dust and hair from clogging your furnace. But after the filter has been in place for a while, it gets full of debris. Your furnace then has to work harder to pull air through the densely packed filter, which places extra stress on the furnace.
How often you need to change your filter will depend on a lot of things. How often you clean, whether or not you have pets, and recent renovations can all make a difference. A good rule of thumb is to check the filter monthly for debris. If you can see hair and dust on the surface, then replace the filter or wash it if it’s the reusable kind.
2. Use a Programmable Thermostat
It’s still amazing how many Canadians don’t use programmable thermostats: only 50% as of 2006. They are one of the best ways of reducing your monthly gas bill, and they often pay for themselves in one year. They also reduce wear and tear on your furnace.
A simple 5-day/2-day programmable thermostat is not expensive, and it will allow you to set up a schedule for weekdays and weekends that will lower the temperature when you’re away from home or sleeping.
3. Make Sure all Registers are Open and Free of Debris
In order to work efficiently, a furnace needs to be able to freely circulate air around your home. Make sure none of your registers are blocked by furniture or have trapped dust in the cover. Be careful when purchasing decorative registers – they look great but can restrict as much as 50% of the airflow.
4. Keep the Area Around the Furnace Clear
Most furnaces are kept in the basement, where we also love to store extra belongings. It’s really important to keep a three to five-foot area around your furnace completely clear of stored items. This is a safety issue because there is burning gas in the furnace. But it also helps the furnace run smoother because air can circulate freely.
5. Curtains are a Great Way to Save Energy
Strategically using your curtains can make a noticeable difference in your energy bill. By closing them at night, you can prevent heat loss to the cold outdoors.
Opening them in the day on the south or west-facing windows allows warm sunshine to enter and heat the inside of your home, just like with a car left in a parking lot. On any north windows, try to keep them closed, even during the day.
6. Get Regular Furnace Tune-Ups
Make sure you have your furnace inspected and tuned up every year to ensure its running at peak efficiency. One faulty part can place strain on the rest of the system, and can lead to sudden breakdowns. You can learn more about the benefits of furnace tune-ups here.
7. Use Ceiling Fans
It may sound odd to use a fan in the winter, but they can help even out the overall warmth of your air. Heat naturally rises, and tends to collect near the ceiling. Running your ceiling fan on low to push the hot air down to the floor works especially well in rooms with vaulted ceilings.
8. Bake More in the Winter Months
Give your furnace a break by using the oven more. It will heat the entire kitchen area and may help heat your entire ground floor. There are other benefits too: not only will you feel better with a nice home-cooked meal, but your house will also smell great.
9. Decorative Insulation
Carpeting and area rugs on floors help insulate against drafts. They also feel great underfoot, help with soundproofing, and make us feel warmer because they’re so cozy looking.
10. Keep a Good Humidity Level
Most people notice that the air in our homes tends to be really dry in winter. It’s not only drying on skin and throats, but it can make us feel colder than we really are. Using a humidifier to bring your humidity level up to about 40% will help transfer heat better. You can lower the setting on the thermostat and not notice it. More humidity is also better for wood floors and furniture, and can help prevent asthma and allergy attacks.
11. Make Sure your Garage Door is Sealed
The garage is one of the biggest culprits of energy loss in the modern home. Make sure the garage door is touching all the way down and there aren’t any drafts around the sides are top.
By following these tips, you’ll keep your furnace running smoothly all winter long. You’ll also stay cozy and warm for less money.
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