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Signs That Your Furnace Needs To Be Replaced

Furnace maintenance in Chicago

Many people take their furnace for granted- that is until it breaks down on them in the dead of winter. Furnaces are a must-have in most homes today and play a vital role in keeping families warm during the colder months. Although they’re easy to install and come in a wide variety of sizes and types, furnaces need to be properly maintained in order to function properly and last for many years. If you’ve been having issues with your furnace lately or are unsure of whether it’s time to replace it, keep reading. This article will provide you with three signs that indicate it’s time to get a new furnace. Once you identify these signs, you can then begin shopping for a replacement that will keep your home warm for years to come.

How Does A Furnace Work?

Let’s have a look at how the furnace works. To start, a furnace has a thermostat that acts as the controller of the system. This thermostat sends a signal to the furnace to get activated when there is a drop in temperature. As this happens, the gas valve is switched on and this ignites the burner – this is if you have a gas furnace. For an electric furnace, the heat source comes from an electric current. Once the burner is ignited, it starts to heat up the air which then gets circulated through a system of ducts by means of a blower. The air enters your room through vents and this is how you get warmth in your home during winter.

The next step is the heating up of the metal exchanger. The air then begins to pick up the heat and flows through a tube in a circular motion. A blower and fan then transport this warm air to all parts of the house or the facility via a system of vents and ducts. When the desired temperature is achieved throughout the home, the thermostat sends another signal to the furnace to switch off. This process repeats itself when there is a drop in the temperature again.

This repeated cycle can often lead to damage and is made worse if the furnace has ben neglected. Let’s now have a look at some of the signs of furnace damage.

Service for furnaces

3 Signs of a Damage Furnace

There are many signs prior to a furnace failing. Here are three common signs to watch for when trying to figure out if your furnace needs a replacement:

1. Foul Smell

Detecting unusual odors emanating from your furnace is a critical warning sign that should not be ignored.

Chlorine or Ozone Smell:

One of the most alarming scents is that of chlorine or ozone, which often signals a gas leak within the furnace system. This situation demands immediate attention, as gas leaks present a significant safety hazard, including the risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Smell of Melting Wires or Electrical Burn:

Another concerning smell is that of melting wires or an electrical burn. This odor suggests a potential electrical issue in your furnace, which could lead to short circuits or even fire. These types of problems can arise from faulty wiring, overheating components, or other electrical malfunctions within the furnace system.

Dirty Laundry Smell:

Beyond these more serious concerns, a common and less immediately dangerous scent is that of dirty laundry. This odor typically arises from an accumulation of dust, dirt, and debris in the vents and ducts of your furnace system. While not as hazardous as a gas leak or electrical issue, this dirty laundry smell is far from benign. It can quickly become overpowering, creating an unpleasant living environment. More critically, it can be a symptom of underlying issues such as mold growth or increased humidity levels within your home. Mold and high humidity can lead to health problems for residents, particularly for those with allergies or respiratory issues.

The dirty laundry smell is often a sign that your furnace’s filters or ducts require cleaning or that there might be a blockage preventing proper air circulation. Regular maintenance, including cleaning or replacing filters and ensuring that vents are free of obstructions, can often remedy this issue.

Regardless of the type of smell, it is essential to have your furnace inspected by a professional as soon as you notice any unusual odors. A qualified technician can diagnose the cause of the smell, address any immediate safety concerns, and recommend actions to prevent future problems. Regular maintenance of your furnace can not only prevent these issues but also extend the life of your furnace and improve the efficiency and air quality in your home.

2. Poor Heating

If your furnace isn’t working as efficiently as it once did, it might be time for a new one. You may notice that your home isn’t heating evenly, or that your energy bills have spiked. In some cases, a simple repair may be all that is needed to get your furnace back up and running. However, if your furnace is older or has been experiencing frequent problems, it may be time for a replacement.

  • Inefficiency and Ageing Furnace:
    • Noticeable decline in furnace efficiency could signal the need for a replacement.
    • Older furnaces, especially those over 15 years old, may not heat as effectively.
  • Uneven Heating in the Home:
    • If some rooms are colder than others, it could indicate furnace issues.
    • This uneven heating may be due to problems with the furnace’s blower or ductwork.
  • Increase in Energy Bills:
    • A significant rise in energy bills can be a symptom of furnace inefficiency.
    • Older or malfunctioning furnaces use more energy to produce the same amount of heat.
  • Potential for Simple Repairs:
    • In some cases, issues might be resolved with basic repairs.
    • Common repairable issues include replacing filters, fixing the thermostat, or addressing minor mechanical problems.
  • Frequent Breakdowns Indicating Replacement Need:
    • Frequent repairs or continuous problems are signs that a furnace might need replacing.
    • Consider cost-effectiveness; constant repairs can be more expensive in the long run compared to getting a new furnace.
  • Professional Evaluation for Decision Making:
    • A qualified technician can assess whether a repair or replacement is more feasible.
    • They can provide advice based on the furnace’s condition, age, and repair history.
  • Benefits of a New Furnace:
    • New furnaces offer better efficiency and lower energy costs.
    • They provide more consistent heating and are often quieter and smaller.
    • Modern furnaces come with advanced features like programmable thermostats and improved air filtration.
  • Consideration for Upgraded Heating Solutions:
    • Evaluate options like energy-efficient models or alternative heating systems.
    • Consider long-term savings and environmental impact when selecting a new furnace.
old furnace repair in Oak Lawn, Il

3. Odd Noises Coming From The Furnace

When your furnace begins to make unusual noises, it’s a clear indication that something is amiss, and these sounds should never be overlooked. Distinctive noises like knocking, buzzing, or humming are more than just auditory nuisances; they are often warning signs of significant problems within your furnace system. A knocking sound, for instance, can imply mechanical issues such as loose or broken internal components that need immediate attention. Buzzing noises often point to electrical problems, which not only impair the functioning of your furnace but can also pose serious safety risks. Similarly, a humming sound might suggest that a part of the furnace, like the blower motor or fan, is struggling to function correctly.

These sounds are particularly concerning if they emerge from an older furnace, as they can indicate that the furnace is nearing the end of its operational life span. In such scenarios, it’s crucial to consult with a professional HVAC technician without delay. They can conduct a thorough inspection to diagnose the precise cause of the noise and assess the overall condition of your furnace.

Depending on the severity of the issue, a technician may be able to fix the problem with a relatively quick repair. This could involve replacing worn-out parts, tightening loose components, or addressing electrical issues. However, if the furnace is old and the damage is extensive, repairs might not be a cost-effective or long-term solution. In these cases, the technician might recommend installing a new furnace.

Replacing your furnace can be a significant investment, but it also offers an opportunity to upgrade to a more energy-efficient and reliable heating system. Newer furnace models are designed to operate more quietly, provide consistent heating, and reduce energy consumption, leading to lower utility bills. Moreover, with a new furnace, you gain peace of mind knowing that your heating system is safe, up to date, and less likely to break down during the colder months.

Contact a Local Professional

If you’re experiencing any signs of furnace malfunction such as strange noises from the unit, a noticeable decrease in heating efficiency, or an unexpected increase in your energy bills, it’s crucial to acknowledge these as potential indicators of a furnace failure. In such situations, the most prudent course of action is to contact a local professional specializing in heating and cooling systems.

Timely intervention is essential in these scenarios. Addressing furnace problems as soon as they arise not only helps in avoiding escalated repair costs but also prevents potential safety risks associated with faulty heating systems. Moreover, prompt repairs or replacements ensure that your home remains warm and comfortable, especially during the colder months.

For residents in the Chicagoland area, Chicagoland Heating & AC is a reliable option. We are known for our quick and efficient service and can assist in getting your furnace back to optimal working condition. Whether it’s a minor repair or a complete replacement, our expertise can provide peace of mind and guarantee a warm, safe, and energy-efficient home environment.