No homeowner wants to face the expense of replacing an appliance such as the furnace. However, such replacement is sometimes necessary. If you’re wondering if you might need a replacement furnace, below are some indicators that a new appliance might be in your near future.
Your Furnace Is Old
Even high-end appliances only have so much time in their lifecycle. For furnaces, that lifecycle is usually 15 to 20 years. Now, if your furnace just hit the 15-year or even 20-year mark, you don’t necessarily need to call your local HVAC professionals for an immediate replacement. However, calling them in for a full furnace diagnostic isn’t a bad idea.
Unfortunately, if you’re not the owner who had the furnace installed, you may have to do some sleuthing to discover its age. An owner’s manual is a good start. Otherwise, look behind the furnace for a tag with the serial number. You can talk to the manufacturer about that model number to discover when it was made.
Once your furnace reaches the 15-year mark, start paying closer attention to it. You want to be on the lookout for sounds and smells that may indicate imminent failure.
Your Furnace Starts Making Noise
Unless you have a modern furnace, your appliance will likely make some noise. However, new noises can indicate a problem.
One of the worst noises you can hear from your unit is a low rumbling. The rumbling might indicate a dirty burner, which is a common cause of the sound. Soot and dirt naturally build up on the burners, which can eventually block the airflow. A professional cleaning can solve the problem. However, the rumbling can also indicate a leak in the heat exchanger, which is a dangerous issue.
Another new sound indicating an issue is a scraping noise which sounds like metal on metal. Such a sound could indicate you have a loose or even broken blower wheel. The problem can also be a broken motor mount. Left alone, the underlying problems causing these sounds will worsen.
Said problems can be repaired. However, this is the time for you to consider the age of your existing system. Repairs can be costly, and you may be better off investing a little more money and just replacing the furnace.
Your Rooms Smell When You Run the Furnace
Another big change can come in the air quality, specifically its scent, when you run the furnace. Except for when you operate the heat for the first time in a season, you shouldn’t smell odors because of your furnace.
A dangerous smell is one that’s sour or that stings your nose. This odor can indicate a failed heat exchanger. You’ll only notice the smell when you’re near the unit itself, but it’s an indicator that you need to shut the appliance off. If you allow it to run with the failed heat exchanger, it can pump unsafe levels of carbon monoxide into your rooms.
Another dangerous smell is burning plastic. This odor indicates that plastic is, indeed, burning inside your unit. Said plastic is usually wrapped around electrical components within the appliance. Typically, your furnace is shorting out, which can cause a fire. The smell can also indicate a failing fan motor.
As with the new sounds, the underlying causes of the new smells might be repairable. Again, you should consider the age of your furnace as a determining factor for repair or replacement.
Don’t hesitate to replace a failing furnace that’s near the end of its lifecycle. If you’re ready for furnace replacement, call L&L Heating & Air Conditioning. We can help you choose a new furnace.