Cencal Mechanical Heating & Air has upgraded heating equipment throughout California’s Central Valley. Here are 9 signs that your furnace needs to be replaced, including strange noises that won’t go away and increasingly uneven heating in your home.
Having a reliable furnace is crucial, especially during the colder months. But how do you know when it’s time to replace your furnace?
In this guide, our team at Cencal Mechanical covers the nine key signs that indicate you need a furnace replacement. Understanding these signs can save you time, money, and discomfort, as well as ensure your home stays cozy and warm when you need it most.
Table of Contents
- Age of the Furnace
- Frequent Repairs
- Increasing Energy Bills
- Uneven Heating
- Strange Noises
- Poor Air Quality
- Difficulty Starting
- Fluctuating Thermostat
- Visible Rust and Cracks
Your Furnace Is Too Old
The age of your furnace is a critical factor in determining if it needs to be replaced. Most furnaces have a lifespan of around 15-20 years. Operating an outdated furnace could lead to inefficiencies, more frequent breakdowns, and higher energy costs.
How to Tell if Your Furnace Is Too Old
- Check the manufacturing date on the furnace unit.
- Review your maintenance and service records to find its installation date.
- Take notice if your furnace is suffering from frequent breakdowns despite regular maintenance.
Your Furnace Needs Constant Repairs
If your furnace requires repairs frequently, it may be a sign that its components are failing. Frequent repairs not only cost you money but also indicate that the furnace is reaching the end of its life.
Signs Your Furnace Isn’t Worth Repairing Anymore
- You have repair invoices dating back less than two years but more frequent than before.
- You’re familiar with your HVAC technician because they are at your home often.
- Replacement parts are becoming more challenging to find or increasingly expensive.
Your Energy Bills Are Increasing
A significant increase in energy bills could mean your furnace is losing its efficiency (especially if your usage habits haven’t changed). When a furnace ages, it has to work harder to produce the same amount of heat, consuming more energy in the process.
Signs That Your Furnace Is Driving Up Your Energy Bills
- Energy bills from the same periods in previous years are significantly lower.
- You haven’t changed your heating habits, but your bills are rising.
- Other electrical appliances and systems in your home are not the cause of the increase (if you haven’t made any significant upgrades recently, this probably isn’t the issue).
Your Home Is Getting Uneven Heating
A properly functioning furnace should distribute heat evenly throughout your home. If some rooms are colder than others, it may indicate that your furnace can’t pull its weight anymore and needs to go.
How to Tell If the Furnace Isn’t Heating Your Home Evenly
- Some rooms are significantly colder than others.
- You find yourself adjusting vents often or having to use space heaters in particular rooms.
- You’ve checked for drafts, but the issue persists.
You Hear Strange Noises
Furnaces often make some noise during operation, but strange or loud noises like banging, popping, or screeching could indicate serious problems requiring immediate attention.
How to Recognize Urgent Furnace Noises
- You hear unusual noises when the furnace starts, runs, or stops.
- The noises have become louder or more frequent over time.
- Simple things like changing your thermostat settings and changing the air filter don’t resolve the noise issue.
You’re Getting Poor Air Quality
An aging or malfunctioning furnace may not filter air as effectively as a new model with higher efficiency, leading to poorer indoor air quality. This can exacerbate health issues like allergies and asthma.
Your Furnace Might Be Impacting Your Air Quality If…
- You see increased dust accumulation around vents and in living spaces.
- Family members are experiencing respiratory issues or allergies.
- You notice a musty or burning smell when the furnace is on.
Your Furnace Has Difficulty Starting
If your furnace has trouble starting or frequently turns on and off, it could be a sign of a larger internal issue. This pattern is known as “short-cycling” and can place extra strain on the furnace, eventually wearing it out entirely.
Signs that Your Furnace Is Struggling to Get Fired Up
- The furnace struggles to start when you adjust the thermostat.
- You hear clicking sounds but no ignition.
- The furnace starts but turns off shortly after, before adequately heating your home.
Your Thermostat Is Fluctuating
If you find yourself constantly adjusting the thermostat to maintain a comfortable temperature, it could mean your furnace isn’t operating efficiently. A fluctuating thermostat often indicates issues with heat distribution, which could mean that your furnace is the wrong size and needs to be replaced (or professionally serviced at the very least).
How to Recognize a Fluctuating Thermostat
- Frequent adjustments to the thermostat are needed to maintain comfort.
- The thermostat readings are inconsistent with how warm or cold the room feels.
- Even after adjusting the thermostat, some rooms remain uncomfortably cold or hot.
Your Heating Equipment Has Visible Rust & Cracks
Visible signs of rust, cracks, or corrosion are significant red flags. These could lead to leaks and are often symptomatic of a deteriorating furnace that needs replacing.
Signs of Physical Furnace Damage
- Obvious rust or corrosion on the furnace or its components.
- Water pooling near the furnace, indicating potential leaks.
- Visible cracks in the furnace casing or flue pipes.
Understanding these nine signs can help you make an informed decision about whether to replace your furnace. It’s always good to consult with professionals if you encounter any of these issues, so give our team at Cencal a call. We’ll help you enjoy a well-maintained, efficient furnace that not only saves you money but also keeps your home warm and comfortable throughout the year.
Frequently Asked Questions about Furnace Replacement
How Much Does Furnace Replacement Cost?
The cost of replacing a furnace can vary widely depending on several factors, including:
- Furnace Type: Gas furnaces are generally more expensive than electric ones, but they almost always cost less to run (since electricity in California costs more than natural gas).
- Efficiency Rating: Higher-efficiency models are pricier but can save you money in the long run on energy bills.
- Installation Complexity: The more complicated the installation, the higher the labor costs will be.
- Additional Components: If you need to replace other parts like the thermostat or air ducts, that will also add to the costs involved.
When you contact Cencal about replacing your furnace, we’ll ask you a few quick questions to get an idea of your home’s needs and provide a quote for the work involved.
How Long Does Replacing a Furnace Take?
Replacing a furnace typically takes anywhere from 4 to 10 hours, depending on the complexity of the installation. If new ductwork is needed or if modifications need to be made to your existing setup, it could take longer. We’ll give you a timeline for any furnace replacement we perform so that you know what to expect.
Do I Need New Ducts If I Replace My Furnace?
In most cases, you won’t need new ducts when you replace your furnace. However, if your existing ductwork is old, damaged, or not properly sized for the new furnace, then you may need to consider replacing or upgrading it. Inefficient ductwork can significantly impact your new furnace’s performance and efficiency.
How Much Money Can I Save by Replacing My Old Furnace with a New One?
Upgrading to a more efficient furnace can provide significant savings on your energy bills. The efficiency of furnaces is measured by their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. For example, if you’re upgrading from a furnace with an AFUE of 70% to one with an AFUE of 95%, you could see a substantial reduction in energy consumption.
For an average California home, replacing an old furnace with a high-efficiency model can save approximately $200 to $400 per year on heating costs. The actual savings can vary depending on several factors like your home’s insulation, the local climate, and current energy rates.
Remember, while a higher-efficiency furnace may cost more upfront, the long-term savings can make it a worthwhile investment.