Repair or Replace? Can your Furnace Handle the Winter Ahead?

Furnace InstallAs we’re well on our way into winter, you’ve already begun utilizing your furnace. But can it get through the winter effectively and efficiently? The professionals at Wyckoff Heating & Cooling know the difference between a furnace that can be repaired, and one that should be replaced. Review our tips below to make an informed decision on your furnace this season.

Consider lifespan. If your furnace was in place before you moved in, the first thing to do is research the age of your unit. This may be as simple as reviewing the owner’s manual or contacting the manufacturer with the unit’s model number. The average life expectancy in homes today is between 16 and 20 years, depending on care and maintenance. If your furnace is close to this age or older, now would be a good time to start researching replacement options so you can plan this home improvement rather than make a decision under pressure. At Wyckoff, we recommend ENERGY STAR® equipment for maximum efficiency.

Warning Signs. Before you make the decision on whether to repair or replace, there are a few telltale signs your furnace needs to be inspected and potentially replaced. Just like your car, if you pay attention, your furnace will let you know how it’s performing. Consider the following:

  • Are your energy bills going up despite the same usage? Furnaces often lose their efficiency as they age, causing your furnace to run longer only to provide the same amount of heat.
  • Does your furnace require frequent repairs? Like cars, you can replace one part only to need another replaced or repaired next year. Furnaces incur the most breakdowns in the last 2 years of their lives. You may wish to get ahead of the game, and invest in a new furnace rather than continue making repairs.
  • Are rooms in your home heated evenly? This could be related to various issues, one being that your furnace lacks the ability to properly distribute air. Duct problems, inadequate air sealing or insulation could also be the cause. No matter how efficient your heating and cooling system is, if your home is not properly sealed and insulated against air leakage, you will not be as comfortable and your system will have to work harder.
  • If you have a natural gas furnace, is your burner flame yellow instead of blue? A yellow or flickering flame may be a sign that carbon monoxide is being created by your furnace. Other possible signs include: streaks of soot around the furnace, excess moisture found on windows and walls, and excessive rust on flue pipes or appliance jacks.
  • Is your furnace making strange noises? Old furnaces start to make strange noises as they reach the end of their life. If you have heard banging, popping, rattling, or squealing or if your blower turns on and off frequently, these are all signs your furnace may need to be replaced.
  • Does your home have dust or humidity problems? Poorly operating or improperly sized equipment could be to blame. Leaky ductwork can also cause these problems, so having it sealed may be a solution. Monthly maintenance of your heating and cooling equipment’s filters may also help. Old furnaces often lack the ability to moisturize and clean the air in your home.
  • Does your home feel stale or do family members suffer from allergies? Poor indoor air quality may be associated with on old furnace, poor ventilation and various other reasons. Have a Wyckoff professional inspect your home if you see issues in your air quality.

Money Saving Options to Consider  

If your furnace is not over the expected lifespan or it’s not quite time for replacement, you can still reduce heating costs by following a few simple steps:

  • Consider a home energy audit. Here you will discover areas that need additional insulation or leaks in your home that can be prevented. Uncover inexpensive upgrades that won’t break the bank.
  • Take steps to ensure proper maintenance of your furnace. This will extend the lifetime of your furnace and uphold a high air quality in your home. Something as simple as regularly changing your filter can go a long way.
  • Invest in a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your home’s temperature to fit your schedule.

One of the most important investments and equipment in your home, it’s important to ensure your furnace is running safely, effectively and efficiently. At Wyckoff Heating & Cooling, we are here to help you make the decision on whether to repair or replace your furnace. By calculating your furnace’s efficiency and annual cost savings, we can help you make an informed decision that will ensure your family stays warm each day this winter and many winters to come. To get more information needing to repair or replace your furnace contact us. To learn more about getting your furnace serviced watch our fall tune up video now.

 

About Job Cooper

Job Cooper is the third generation of the Wyckoff family to own the business and is the grandson of the founder, Don Wyckoff Sr. In his free time he enjoys running, biking, boating, golfing and spending time with his family.


This entry was posted in Efficiency Tips, Heating, News, Repair, Seasonal Tips, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
48 comments
evanspetuniaflower
evanspetuniaflower

I've always wondered what was the line between repair and replace on our furnace, and this has really helped! Every so often, it makes a weird noise, so I think that I'll have to call someone to look at it. Unfortunately I don't know the age of our furnace, so I'll have to check on that as soon as possible! Thanks so much for this advice! http://rbincorporated.com/services/heating-services/ 

seansimons15
seansimons15

I think I would prefer to have my furnace repaired as it definitely seems like less expensive. One of the things you mention in the article is an energy bill that is going up despite the same usage. I have been watching my usage for the past few months and it has been the same, but my bill has been going up. I hope that I can have some repairs done that will fix the issue. 


http://heatingandacsolutions.com/services/ 

JanelleWinters
JanelleWinters

I feel like such a silly person, but I always thought that it was normal for furnaces to bang and rattle! I grew up in a pre-war apartment building so the noises were a natural part of life in the winter. I recently moved into an ancient house, and the other week when I turned on the heat for the first time I noticed the sounds. Now that I know that they're NOT normal, I'll get the furnace inspected right away. I'm so glad I read up on this! http://www.rivercityac.com/hvac-maintenance/ 

TaylorCollins
TaylorCollins

I definitely think it's important to prepare for winter as well as you possibly can. Nothing would be worse than having your furnace give out in the middle of a horrible snow storm. Hopefully more people will consider this and call a professional to get things examined before it gets to be too late. I know that's what I plan on doing, and I can't imagine why somebody would choose to do anything different.

http://www.rhinersplumbing.com/heating-and-cooling/ 

zzth1
zzth1

I always forget that furnaces have expiration dates just like everything else. I have been trying to get a new furnace for a while. I keep wondering if I should be installing it myself or if I should get a contractor to come and put it in for me. What do you have to say about that? I feel like it would be easy to install but I don't want to take time on it. I am thinking about just getting a contractor. Then when I have a problem I know it wasn't my fault. http://lansingheating.net/service 

Craig Elliott
Craig Elliott

Regular maintenance should make your heating unit handle the cold of the winter. However if you have not used the unit for a long time and winter is approaching it would be best If you have it checked for any repairs.

 

DanielaAdams
DanielaAdams

Excellent article, so informative and helpful! I've noticed our energy bill are more than usual, even though we haven't been using more energy or anything. Now, that I've read your article, I wonder if it's the problem with the furnace. I will have it checked, I think it's fairly old. http://www.abaileyplumbing.com/heating-air-conditioning.shtml 

April Williams
April Williams

I think during the winter, it isn't terribly smart to replace your air conditioning unit. It would just be to hard to take the old unit out and take in the new. It seems like it would be smarter to repair the unit. http://thatservicecompany.com 

jstrong196
jstrong196

My parents have had the same furnace in their home since we all moved in it twenty something years ago. They have had the furnace serviced and checked, but I'm just wondering if it needs t be replaced. The insights given here are saying that they should at least look into it and see if it would be a wise investment. 


http://www.thermo-tech.ca/air_conditioning_and_furnaces.html 

JessyShaw
JessyShaw

After a random cold front that hit our town a few days ago, I decided to turn on our furnace. Initially there was a burning smell that comes with turning it on after a few months and then we discovered that our home wasn't being heated evenly. It is pretty old so I am thinking that it may need a repair or two. Getting it done before the real cold weather sets in this fall will probably be the best idea. http://jpsheating.ca/repair-service/ 

emilysmith47876
emilysmith47876

Thanks for the tips on when I should replace my furnace. I really like the list of warning signs that show that I need to replace my furnace. However, I have heard that the ducts might need replacing instead. My friend said that his air ducts had leaks in them and that was why many of the signs listed were occurring. You should also hire someone to inspect the air ducts. 

http://www.danforthroofingsupply.com/en/sheet_metal_and_hvac.html 

sfreddson2156
sfreddson2156

People often overestimate the lifespan of their appliances. It seems like they should last a long time, but we sometimes don't realize what kind of stress we put on them. If you're careful and you keep track, you'll be much happier with the results. Thanks for sharing! http://www.arizonadiscountappliance.com/ 

MikeReynolds13
MikeReynolds13

Job, I think that my heater has been experiencing your fifth warning sign. It has been making a lot of strange noises lately. I'm not sure if it is a sign of needing repairs or not. It probably wouldn't hurt me to have someone at least come and check it out for me. Maybe I should have the pumps checked as well while I'm at it. 

Pyrrho
Pyrrho

Job, I'm not sure how old my heater is. It sounds like anything older than 16 years might need an inspection. I wouldn't want to deal with a broken down heater, so I'll probably have a professional stop by to look at it. http://www.americanapplianceinc.com/products.html 

Joeywall87
Joeywall87

I am just finding out about the home energy audit. I seriously could have done this in such a long time ago. I have been suspecting that my kitchen area has no insulation on one of the walls. It seriously gets so cold there in the winter. http://www.canuckmechanical.com/en/services.html

lillysedrick
lillysedrick

It is a really good idea to make sure that your furnace is ready for the winter far in advance. I would really suggest having your furnace looked at sometime in the summer. By doing this you can make sure that your furnace is ready to work hard during the winter. Winter time is also when heating companies get really busy. It would be really nice to be able to beat the rush and get help right when you need it.


http://www.midnightsunheating.ca/en/heating_systems.html

CaseyJones1
CaseyJones1

Thanks for the advice on furnace maintenance.  I agree that you need to look into whether or not your furnace can handle the upcoming months of cold.  Maybe I should get mine looked out by an HVAC contractor.

http://www.coeheatcool.com/heatingpage.html 

quintrent13
quintrent13

Knowing when it is that you are suppose to repair or replace your heating system is important to know. That way you can make sure that you know what it is that you can do to have it ready for the winter. It is a good thing too, because not very many people can fix these heating systems like this.
 http://www.trirom.ca/en/

MaryJanePrincton
MaryJanePrincton

My furnace has been struggling a lot lately. I am kind of afraid that it isn't going to make it through the winter. I would really like to have a professional come look at it though just to make sure. I think it might just be time to get a new furnace all together.


http://www.serviceplusexperts.com/services.htm

correysmith321
correysmith321

That's always been a question of mine ever since moving into my new cabin that I just bought in Idaho. I guess when a furnace breaks down or has problems that's when my whole family gets worried. Luckily I was able to get proper training from the neighbors next door into how to do the maintenance on those furnaces. http://www.summersandsmith.ca/ 

geraldvonberger
geraldvonberger

It's really helpful to know the signs of needing furnace repair. From what you said, it sounds like I won't have to replace my furnace, I'll just need it repaired. I'd imagine it still has a good lifespan still left in it. It's really comforting to know that I'm not going to have to spend money on a new one just yet. http://mitchellplumbing.com/heating-cooling/furnaces/

JohnnyShi1
JohnnyShi1

I thought it was interesting that you mentioned allergies being related to poor indoor air quality. I thought that could be solved by switching out the air filter. Lately our family has been having some major allergy issues. I wonder if has to do with our furnace. Thanks for the suggestions.  http://www.gandgapplianceservice.com

rbenson1
rbenson1

I really appreciate your list of signs that you may need to replace your furnace.  I didn't know that a furnace actually loses efficiency as they age.  My furnace is about 10 years old but has required a lot of repairs recently.  It seems like it might be a good idea to start saving for new equipment. http://www.plumbergrandeprairie.ca/furnace_repair.html 

Rose Nickelson
Rose Nickelson

Job, this is so helpful for a first time home owner. I just recently bought my first house and I was wondering if I needed to repair my furnace before winter. I had no idea that if you had a natural gas furnace and you burners flames are yellow instead of blue that something could be wrong. I have a natural gas furnace and that is something I am going to need to keep in mind.  http://www.proctor-mech.com/services/

robbhardy3
robbhardy3

Job, I think the most common thing used to diagnose problems is if the furnace is making strange noises. The other things to look out for didn't cross my mind immediately. I have a rental property and I think the heater there is almost to the point where it needs to be replaced. I will have to ask my renters to keep these tips in mind and keep me posted on how things are.

http://www.encoremec.com/about 

EliasRufus
EliasRufus

We were having many of the symptoms as suggested above. We finally called a general contractor as I was unable to pinpoint the complication with our furnace. Our complication seemed to be due to a faulty pilot light. However, after much inspection, I came to the conclusion that the flu vent was dislodged. This caused the exhaust to flow back into the oxygen vent. I will now keep that in mind after running through this checklist to see if it's time to replace our furnace.

http://davidsonremodelinginc.com/

WalterKowalski
WalterKowalski

Thank you for this advice. My energy bills are constantly increasing and it is very frustrating. I've considered having it repaired, but I've already had it repaired quite a bit. I think that replacement is probably a better option.

Walter Kowalski | http://www.cydcom.ca/furnaces.html

James Lisbon
James Lisbon

I think that the question posed here might be an important question for other appliances as well.   It often seems like the question becomes "should I repair it or fix it?" for all kinds of different things.  It is probably something that would require a little bit of research to determine what would fit your needs. http://www.albertaappliance.com/ 

eugened314
eugened314

This is a question I have been struggling with all winter. My furnace did a poor job of warming our home this year, and I am not sure what to do about it. I think the furnace is about 20 years old, and that is right on the borderline of your life expectancy prediction. It might just be easier to replace the entire thing.

http://www.infinityappliance.net/why_choose_us.html

kelseyhiggins
kelseyhiggins

My parents have recently been complaining about their heating bill raising without them increasing their usage. I wonder if maybe their furnace is getting old and losing efficiency. They have had it for quite a long time, it is probably about time for them to replace it anyway. http://www.originaldonnelly.com/heating/ 

WalterKowalski
WalterKowalski

Thank you for this information. My family and I just moved into a new house and I'm not sure how old the heater is. It isn't working very well, so I'm not sure if it just needs to be repaired or if it needs to be replaced all together. As far as I can tell, it isn't showing any of the warning signs that you listed, so I think it just needs to be repaired.

Walter Kowalski | http://www.mclaughlin-air.com/heating-repair.html

Marcus Morgan
Marcus Morgan

We have been having some problems with our furnace. I am trying to decide if I want to get a brand new one since we have had it so long or just pay someone to come and fix it. So I am researching to see what is the best choice. This article was really helpful and I am just going to have someone take a look at it to see what they say. http://www.sullivanservice.com/furnace-and-boiler-repairs

AshleyReed
AshleyReed

I think my furnace needs quite a bit repaired, if not just replaced. I've dealt with my flame going out so often this year, I just want the furnace gone. I hope that I can get a new one soon, but I don't know what else to do.  http://www.comfortablehome.ca/furnace_repair.html 

tedsmith575
tedsmith575

Thank you for the warning signs indicating that my furnace needs to be repaired or replaced. I didn't know that if the burner flame is yellow it is an indication that I need to have the furnace repaired. The burner light just started to turn yellow and I thought nothing of it. Hopefully I can get if fixed quickly before my furnace is damaged beyond repair.
http://www.alwaysplumbing.ca/heating.html

daveyhiltz
daveyhiltz

I'm pretty sure we're going to have to replace our furnace. It's been in the house for over 20 years and I'm sure its going to croak any moment. Just a few days ago, it started moaning louder than usual. That's a sure sign that it's about to die. I'm hoping not though, I don't think I can afford a new one.

http://www.proctor-mech.com/services/ 

FelicitySandy
FelicitySandy

I really like your idea that you brought up to have a programmable thermostat installed. I think that you could save so much money if this smart thermostat is recording what times you leave for work and what times to fire up right before you get home to be the right temperature. That is seriously ingenious to program to your furnace for the winter months! 

http://www.capitalheatingandcooling.com/home_comfort_systems.htm 

CaseyJones1
CaseyJones1

Interesting information, I didn't realize that furnaces typically had a lifespan of 20 or so years.  Mine is about 10 years old right now.  Judging by what you said, that means it should only be midlife right now.  I didn't throw out my parents once they turned 40 so I won't throw out my furnace.  I will look into getting it repaired right away, thanks!

http://www.comfortecheating.com/service_and_warranties.html 

JamesClarkson
JamesClarkson

@CaseyJones1 20 years is a fairly long lifespan, which may cause many of us to simply forget we need to make regular maintenance checks and make sure we have it replaced when necessary. Keeping your furnace operating properly will ensure that it maintains efficiency and lowers your heating bills. I would make sure to have your furnace looked at Casey because it may be suffering a mid-life crisis; hopefully not, but it never hurts to take extra precautions.

http://www.affordableheatingandcooling.net/heating.html 

BonobosMarcos
BonobosMarcos

To purchase new or repair, The age old question. This winter I am faced with a predicament where my heater might just be able to last through the winter, but is it worth the risk? I was going to attempt a repair myself but I think that hiring a professional to come check it up and ensure it will last through out the winter is a better plan.


http://kohlesandbach.com/service/des-moines-furnace-repair-service/