Homeowners always want to know when it’s time to replace a furnace. With an appliance such as a furnace they don’t want to be caught flatfooted in the dead of winter when their furnace breathes its last breath, and their home ices over. So, when is the time for a furnace replacement? Find out more from your Chicago HVAC professionals.

How Old is Old?

In general, the average life of a gas furnace is 15 years. If your furnace has passed 15 years of service, and maintenance needs to be done more frequently, the writing is on the wall. That is, residential furnace replacement needs to happen soon. A general sign it needs replacement is it is not running as efficiently, and consequently your power bills are making a significant dent in your budget. Another way to know if your old gas furnace needs replacing is if you’re paying more than 15% it would cost to purchase a new furnace.

How long do gas furnaces last? The cited 15- to 20-year average service of a furnace is not set in cement. Dependable furnaces can endure 20 to 30 years. To eliminate the guesswork of when you can expect your old gas heater needs replacement is to find the suggested average life of a furnace in your owner’s manual. Or an alternative method is to contact the manufacturer, and give them the model number of the unit.

Different Temperatures for Different Rooms

If a higher-than-normal power bill hasn’t caught your attention, then perhaps noticing temperature changes between rooms will. When an old gas heater is nearing the end of its lifespan, its increasing inefficiency can cause rooms to feel either warmer or colder, instead of the heat being evenly distributed across all rooms. Uneven temperatures registering from room to room can come about when a furnace has entered old age, and its antiquated ductwork no longer possesses the ability to register even heating from one room to another. Then furnace replacement needs to be considered.

A Sooty Environment

An old gas furnace entering the final years of its life can start to belch dust, dirt, even rust particulate matter. This not only is an insult to a well-kept home, but also poses an environmental hazard to family members, pets, and plants.

If you see soot or rust accumulating near the furnace or its registers, this indicates the furnace is producing an excess of CO2. An increase in CO2 can create extreme dryness, affecting the interior of your home as well as its inhabitants, with symptoms such as dry eyes and irritated throats. It’s time to contact an HVAC contractor to find out if you need to replace your furnace.

Noise Pollution

Furnaces will typically make some sounds when they start up and shut down. However, if you find your furnace making more noise than usual, this may be an indicator furnace replacement is in the near future. The kinds of sounds to look for are: any noise that doesn’t sound right or is unfamiliar to you.

Odor Problems

Odd odors emanating from your furnace can be an indicator your unit is not operating correctly. Those peculiar odors can spell trouble for your household. If you experience a burning odor it could be traced to faulty wiring, or the wire insulation is burning. Don’t ignore strange odors; call an HVAC contractor to check your unit. Only they can tell you if you’ll need furnace replacement service from them.

Running in Short Cycles

If your furnace is struggling to stay on and shutting off too quickly, you may need to replace your furnace. But other issues that can be resolved without replacing your furnace include a grimy air filter, a dead battery, incorrect thermostat setting, or the fan control is not functioning correctly. As far as thermostat settings go, if you need to constantly adjust your thermostat, your furnace is signaling it is not functioning normally, and you may need furnace replacement in the home.

Yellow Pilot Light

It is wise as your old gas furnace ages into its golden years to check the pilot light regularly. You should see a blue flame, which means all is well. If you see the flame is yellow a problem exists. A yellow flame is an indicator the furnace is not burning hot enough, due to the thermocouple’s inability to heat to the required temperature. The result is the gas supply will shut down. At this point you might want to start researching the cost to replace your furnace.

More seriously, a yellow pilot light could mean a deficiency in oxygen. A yellow pilot light can also mean carbon monoxide is present, a danger to family members’ health. Leaking carbon monoxide in the home is no joke. It is important to call in an HVAC professional immediately for possible residential furnace replacement service.