Home Comfort: Knowing When to Repair or Replace Your Furnace

furnace maintenance tips

When the weather is cold outside, you want it to be warm and cozy indoors. This makes your furnace the home’s most important appliance during the winter

It must, however, be in good working condition. At the most obvious level, it’s a matter of personal comfort: if your furnace system is not working right, your family will be cold. But your furnace’s condition also affects energy efficiency and fuel bills. In extreme cases, a malfunctioning furnace could present a serious danger to your home, your family’s health, or even their lives.

Related read: What you should know about carbon monoxide and your furnace

If your furnace is less than 10 years old, it is still reasonably efficient by today’s standards, and except in unusual circumstances, it is often worth maintaining and repairing if it’s malfunctioning. Have a certified HVAC professional do a checkup and repairs, and you’ll be good to go for another winter. Regular maintenance can extend the life of a heating and cooling system by 30 percent.

Related read: Your first step: schedule a furnace tune-up

But eventually, the time will come when your furnace needs to be replaced. Here are four of the signs:


  1. There are cold spots in the house

When the furnace and associated ducts or plumbing are in good working condition, rooms will heat up uniformly and reach the temperature set on the thermostat. If the temperature in certain parts of the home can no longer be regulated by setting thermostats, there may be a serious problem that calls for repairs or replacement.

  1. The energy bill goes up for no apparent reason

If your furnace is burning more fuel than the same time last year, there’s a good chance that the burner or blower is not functioning correctly, or that corrosion and buildup are interfering with the efficient transfer of heat.

  1. Yellow pilot light 

The pilot light is another common indicator when there are issues with a gas furnace. It should burn blue, indicating that combustion is nearly complete. If the light is yellow, it usually means that the gasses are not combining properly before combustion. The issue could be a result of dirty filters or a part of the ventilation system being blocked. Sometimes, a funny pilot color light will be accompanied by weird creaking sounds from the system. Usually, the furnace will run with a soft hum. If this is not happening, it could be time to look for an expert in furnace repair.

Take this quiz: Should I repair or replace?

  1. The unit is more than 15 years old

The lifespan of a good furnace is between 10 and 15 years. When the system is forced to work beyond this time, efficiency goes down and the system starts consuming more fuel than it should. At this point in its life, it is usually wiser to replace than repair it.

Related read: Get cost of your furnace repairs back with purchase of replacement

Home Comfort Experts offers installation and maintenance of heating and cooling systems in South Bend, Mishawaka, Fort Wayne and the surrounding areas of Indiana and Michigan. Call (574) 255-4600 today to make sure your home is safe, comfortable, and efficient this winter.

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