Watch for these signs to know when your furnace needs repairs
We’ve reached peak winter. It doesn’t get much colder than this. The wind outside may be howling and it’s a safe bet that there’s snow falling or on the ground.
Now is not the time you want your home’s furnace to start causing problems – or fail entirely. However, if you have any doubts about your furnace’s condition, then now is definitely the time to get the unit looked over by a heating professional and repaired, if necessary.
But how do homeowners know when it’s time to have their furnaces repaired? Most commonly, maintenance needs can be discovered during an annual service appointment.
There are a few signs to watch for, though, that could also signal that it’s time to contact an expert about possible furnace repairs.
Here are some of the most common signs that act as warnings that it’s time to make that call.
There’s dust coming from vents
Have you noticed a lot more dust than usual coming from the furnace vents in your home? That could be a sign that the furnace unit is having trouble cleaning the air it sends out.
If you’ve encountered this problem, then the first step you should take is to replace your air filters. Hopefully that solves the problem. If not, though, it could be a sign of a more serious issue that is going to require repair work.
Furnace is making strange noises
Odd and abnormal noises coming from the furnace as it cycles on, shuts off or is blowing air are immediate signs that should be investigated.
Pops, squeaks and screeching could mean there’s a loose part in the furnace that needs either repairing or replacing.
For example, scraping metal could be a broken blower wheel, while banging and rattling could be caused by dirty burners. Rattling, as well as cracking sounds, can also be a sign of having cracks in the heat exchanges.
Pilot light coloring is off
A furnace pilot light should always be blue. Normally, pilot lights can also appear as blue with an orange or yellow tip.
What homeowners must watch out for, however, is a pilot light that has changed completely to a yellow color. This could mean an intake valve is dirty or that there is a possible carbon monoxide leak – a serious concern that requires immediate attention.
Contact a professional immediately if your furnace is experiencing this problem.
Furnace is blowing cold, lukewarm or no air at all
A furnace that is blowing cold or lukewarm air – or not blowing any air at all – needs to be looked over by a specialist.
Cold air coming from the furnace could be a sign that the pilot light is faulty or that there is an electrical issue. Lukewarm air could be caused by a leaking duct.
Then there’s no air at all. This means there could be a faulty thermostat, dirty flame sensor, broken pilot light or that the fan motor has failed.
Each of these issues is going to take someone who knows what they’re doing to repair the problem.
Utility bill is out of control
Is your monthly utility bill cost increasing seemingly out of nowhere? That could mean your furnace is struggling to heat the home and now has to work that much harder, resulting in higher energy bills.
First, get in touch with your utility company to compare records to last year’s heating costs this time of year. If it is indeed higher, then there are several steps to take.
The next step is to consider whether there are ways to heat your home more efficiently that could solve the problem. If that’s not the issue, though, then it very likely is the furnace. Call an expert to have it looked over.
Furnace repairs can be costly
Once you have recognized one of those signs that a furnace might not be working properly or could be in danger of failing, it’s time to schedule an appointment with an HVAC pro. Don’t put this off!
It’s certainly true that furnace repairs can sometimes mount up and hit your wallet rather hard. But the more you avoid or put off having your furnace repaired, the higher those costs can climb.
On average, most Americans spend about $267 on average to repair a home furnace, according to Improvenet. Sometimes, it’s a lot less; other times, it’s a whole lot more. But the average person can expect to spend anywhere between $160 and $400.
What the final bill amounts to depends on several factors, including the age, size and general condition of the furnace. If the problem is a certain part, then that will also influence the cost.
It’s when those costs start to climb that the conversation may need to shift from repairs to replacement.
When to replace a furnace
Most heating experts will tell you that after 10 years it is time to start thinking about replacing a furnace rather than spending more money on repairs. Chances are those repair bills may begin to mount up – if they have not already – once a furnace reaches 10 years of age.
One rule of thumb to consider is that once you receive a repair estimate of $2,000 or more, then the time has come to strongly consider replacing the furnace. That’s because you are likely entering the price range of having the furnace replaced entirely.
The national average cost of replacing a furnace is between $2,150 and $5,900, according to HomeGuide. Most homeowners will end up paying somewhere around $3,100 for the project. The cost of the furnace replacement depends, of course, on whether it’s electric, gas or oil.
The decision to have a furnace replaced is not one to rush. We recommend setting up an appointment with an HVAC professional to get a reliable estimate and guidance on the choices you’ll have to make.
Contact Comfortec with furnace repair questions
Don’t let your furnace or home heating problems go unattended. If you have questions about potential issues your heating system is facing, or want to get started looking into furnace repairs or replacement, contact Comfortec today to speak to an experience HVAC technician.
Our techs are also available in case of emergencies 24/7 by calling toll free 888-362-2106.
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