Maintenance Tips for Your Furnace

Furnaces will eventually get old and need to be replaced. But do you need to replace the whole furnace, or will a replacement part and regular maintenance be enough? Here are some tips to help you determine what you need to do to keep your furnace running smoothly.

Is Your Furnace In Anguish?

Is your furnace in need of replacement or can these signs of distress be fixed with maintenance and replacement parts? Schedule an appointment to find out.

  • Rattling and rocking. Vibrating noises, such as, rocking or rattling are signs that the heat exchanger could be cracked or that the cover panel is loose.
  • Rumbling. A low rumbling sound on an oil-burning furnace could indicate that oil has leaked inside the combustion chamber. The result, if not repaired soon, is dangerous fumes will start leaking from your furnace.
  • Scraping. If you hear scraping, it is likely that ball bearings are worn out. Do not run your furnace, as doing so will cause further damage.
  • Squealing. A high pitched squeal from your furnace will occur when the blower belt is slipping or frayed. It could also mean that your ball bearings are in need of lubrication.
  • Flickering light. Although this clue is not heard, it is a great sign that your furnace is in distress. Natural gas is made up primarily of methane and when burned it gives off a blue color. A properly burning furnace pilot should produce a sharply-defined blue colored flame with a little yellow at the tip. If your pilot light is yellow, it could indicate that there is excess carbon dioxide around your gas furnace!

Things to keep in mind about your home heating system:

How Old Is Your Furnace?
On average, a furnace will last about 16-20 years. Still have a pilot light on your furnace? Then it's probably over 25 years old.

That's Getting Expensive.
The older furnaces get, the less efficient they become. Bills may be higher and repair expenses will rise.

It's Hot, Then Cold, Then Hot.
Is your heat inconsistent? It may be because your furnace is not running as efficiently as it could be. Don't put up with such varying temperatures inside your own house!

Oh My, It's Dry In Here.
Is your throat dry? Lots of dust in the air? Are your houseplants dropping? These could all be signs that your furnace is having some trouble maintaining comfortable humidity levels.

What's Your AFUE Rating?

Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings let you know how much energy a furnace wastes. Your score indicates how much heat you are actually using vs. how much is lost.

A+ 100% AFUE Rating
The perfectly efficient furnace. Electric furnaces and boilers earn 100% because there is no flue heat loss through the chimney.

A 90-98% AFUE Rating
Only a slight bit of energy is lost. High-efficiency systems with sealed combustion will get this rating.

B+ 88-90% AFUE Rating
Condensing propane units and some state-of-the-art fireplaces earn this rating, which shows they lose only about a tenth of their energy.

B 83-88% AFUE Rating
What type of furnace earns a passing B grade? Mid-efficiency heating oil and propane furnaces do.

C 70-78% AFUE Rating
Heating oil furnaces with retention head burners to trap heat that would be lost out of the flue.

D 60% AFUE Rating
This rating is usually given to cast iron oil furnaces from homes built before 1970.

F/D- 55-65% AFUE Rating
With this almost failing score we find conventional propane and natural gas furnaces which lose about half the fuel you put in.

F- 45-55% AFUE Rating
Conventional firewood furnaces and boilers are at the failing end of the AFUE Ratings.

Do I Repair Or Replace?

Follow the 50% rule to determine if you should repair your furnace or just replace it. You should replace your furnace when repair costs are greater than 50% of the HVAC system's value. If you're not sure if the costs are over 50% have a professional check out the system and give you an opinion.

Benefits Of A New Furnace

Pay My Bills Please?
When you have a new furnace in top working order your energy bills will go down.

Money! Money!
There are tax credits that come with a new furnace. That's free money back in your pocket!

We Can Fix That.
When you have a warranty with your furnace you don't have to worry about paying when part of your furnace breaks.

Oh My, It's Not Dry!
Your air quality will improve with a new furnace. No more dry air and wilting plants.

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