Furnaces don't last forever. Your furnace will likely start to give you signs that it's in danger of failing. Many of these signs are obvious, even though you may not recognize them as signs of pending failure. A heating contractor can tell you best, but here are some of the signs you should watch.
1. Old Age
Your furnace will not last forever. Most professionals agree that a modern furnace has an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. Of course, you can increase or decrease that lifespan if you maintain your furnace properly. In the end though, age is a major factor in whether your furnace is close to failing or not.
You can figure out the age of your furnace from the serial number on its label. The pattern of the serial number usually shows the manufacturer date.
However, the date pattern isn't always obvious. You may have to search for it online to figure out the date pattern. If you find that your furnace is near or beyond the end of its estimated lifecycle, there's a good chance it's about to fail.
2. Missing Heat
Several circumstances can lead to your furnace not producing any heat. One of those circumstances is a dead or dying furnace. Before jumping to conclusions, you should make sure your furnace has power and that you set your thermostat correctly. If everything seems okay, your furnace may represent the cause of your lack of heat.
3. Uneven Or Low Heat
If the heat works, but seems weak, it's possible you have a failing furnace. Once again, there are other reasons for this to happen. But if you have no problems with any other part of your HVAC system, then your furnace may be the culprit. An old furnace, or a furnace with old parts, simply cannot perform at its best.
4. Higher Utility Bills
As your furnace ages, it works harder to accomplish the same level of output it used to give. Remember that your furnace is a slave to your thermostat. If you set the thermostat to 80, a dying furnace will work extra hard to make that temperature happen for you.
Unfortunately, that means the furnace will run far more often, and far harder, than it's meant to. This will cause your heating bill to increase. It will also hasten the death of your furnace as it's putting far more wear on its components.
5. Carbon Monoxide Leaks
A carbon monoxide leak is a dangerous sign of failure. Carbon monoxide leaks actually have multiple signs.
- Carbon monoxide detectors go off frequently
- Blue pilot light turns yellow
- Health issues (headaches, nausea, disorientation)
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious danger. If your detectors go off, or you even suspect carbon monoxide is in the area, shut down anything that uses gas, including your furnace. Get some fresh air in the area by opening windows. Call a professional to come look at your furnace.
There are other signs of a dying furnace. If you get multiple signs at once, there's a chance your furnace will need replacement, rather than repairs. Also, note that all these signs can represent completely different problems. Your furnace will let you know, but you will need a professional heating contractor to verify for you. Consider contacting companies like Erickson Plumbing & Heating for more information.