Having your furnace quit in the middle of winter is never ideal. As your furnace gets older, the risk of this happening does increase. However, you can mitigate this risk somewhat by replacing an old furnace before it reaches the point of failure. How do you know your furnace is ready to be replaced? Watch for these signs.
A Booming Noise When It Turns On
When your furnace first switches on, does it make a booming noise? This noise is easy to look past since it happens so quickly and then is over. But a booming noise usually means that the furnace's heat exchanger is cracked. This crack can allow carbon monoxide and other harmful gasses into your heated air. Over time, the cracked heat exchanger will also make it harder for your furnace to operate and may lead to bigger breakdowns. While HVAC contractors can sometimes replace a broken heat exchanger, this is a major and expensive repair. So, when an older furnace has a broken heat exchanger, your HVAC contractor will usually recommend replacing the whole furnace.
Do some of your rooms still get warm while others seem chillier than normal? This likely means your furnace is generating less heat than it should. That could be due to a problem with the burner, the gas valves, or even the electrical connections. But at the end of the day, most of these problems are not worth repairing on an older furnace and instead indicate you need a replacement.
Rattling and Grinding
A furnace should operate quietly. Often, as a furnace ages, it slowly gets louder. You may get used to the noises it makes, so it is helpful to have a friend visit. Ask that friend if your furnace sounds noisy. If they notice a lot of rattling and grinding noises, or if you're aware of these noises yourself, then you may have a problem with your blower motor. It could have a torn belt, or it could be missing a blade. It's usually best to get a new furnace before your blower motor fails completely. Note that your AC unit likely relies on the same blower motor, so if cooling season is coming up, you'll want to have this work done ASAP.
If you want to avoid having your furnace break down in the middle of winter, watch out for these earlier signs that it needs to be replaced.
Contact a professional for more information about furnace replacement.