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Do I Need A New Furnace?

During winter season, there’s not a convenient time for your furnace to give up, especially considering the cold—and the real hazards – of a home without heat. Worse yet, according to Leo Prescott, a master technician and owner of Prescott Air Conditioning and Heating, “Tired heating equipment has a tendency to die on one of the coldest days of the year.” Don’t flirt with disaster by relying on a troubled furnace. Leo recommends a proactive approach. “Make things easier and plan for any furnace project in advance, before the temperature drops and the problem becomes critical.” The first step? Find out whether your furnace really does require replacement or if “an inexpensive repair would keep it operating for another season.” Of course, for most homeowners who look at their furnace not only for heat, but kind of a mystery—it can be difficult to distinguish between a “going-to-fail” furnace and a inoperable one. That being the case, Leo recommends discussing your concerns with an experienced, certificated HVAC technician “sooner rather than later.” Until then, closely keep an eye on the heating unit in question, and watch for indications of poor performance. Below are a few things to look for!

1. If your furnace is more than 15 years old:

No furnace will operate forever. According to Leo Prescott, Owner/Operator of Prescott Air Conditioning and Heating, “heating units last about 15 or 20 years with proper maintenance.” Unfortunately, “we can’t know it’s expiration date in advance.” All we can do is utilize caution as the unit enters the last years of its life. If a prior owner had the furnace installed, it may not be easy to determine how old it is. “Look for the serial number (It’s on the units nameplate)” Leo suggests, “it’ll contain a date code”. “We do not replace a functional furnace just because it’s old,” Leo says. “Over 97% of furnaces are repairable.”

2. Have your energy bills increased?:

Your furnace is one of the largest energy users in your home, its efficiency is directly connected to your wallet. So, as winter gets going, monitor your monthly energy bills. If it’s costing considerably more than last year—and the rates haven’t gone up—it means “your furnace needs attention.” Newer, well-maintained furnaces perform at peak efficiency levels; older ones typically don’t and end up wasting energy. Leo says, “With a Prescott Furnace Repair Service, nearly all units can have increased efficiency.” But if not, he says, “the waste in operating costs may be reason enough have your unit replaced.”

3. Is Your house not warm enough?:

Feeling cold inside even with the heat on is the most obvious reason for a close look at your furnace. Leo suggests, “you can’t rule out the possibility of other causes.” It may feel cooler due to new air leaks or maybe a thermostat that is not operating correctly. Leo advises homeowners not to push the heating system too hard. Instead, “call the professional”—especially if you notice significant temperature changes in your home.

4. It’s abnormally dusty in your home.

You can’t contain all the dust, regardless of how often you clean, you can never fully get rid of it. If you notice an increase of dust in your home despite your best efforts to eliminate it, not to worry—you’re not going crazy. It’s probably your furnace not removing airborne particles from the circulating air. Check the furnace filter and replace it if dirty. Leo recommends replacing the filter every couple of months. If you haven’t had A Prescott Furnace Repair Service and it’s been many seasons since you last changed the filter—“permanent damage has probably been done to some furnace components,” Leo says.

5. Something looks, sounds, or smells off.

“Most homeowners don’t even go near their furnace,” Leo says. But sometimes standing near and listening to your furnace can let you know how well its operating. Play detective and look for cracks, corrosion or water stains. In the process, listen for any abnormal sounds. While thumping and metal to metal noise like screeching is a sign that the blower assembly might need attention, other noises like grinding or banging show the need for either a repair or perhaps a complete furnace replacement. Leo says, “Be aware of how the furnace area smells.” The first time you fire-up the unit for the season, it’ll likely have a musty smell, but this should go away in a day or so. If the smell continues for more than a few days, you need to schedule a Prescott Furnace Repair Service right away to avoid any potential hazards.

6. Your furnace isn’t cycling properly.

Furnaces “cycle” on and off during normal operation as they warm your home (Roughly 3-5 times per hour). When the thermostat detects the inside temperature is below the heating set point, the furnace fires up to warm your home. Then, when the thermostat reaches the set temperature, the furnace cycles off, and this process repeats until you are warm & comfy. If the performance of your furnace has you thinking it may be operating incorrectly or unlike it normally has in the past, closely monitor its operation. Or, as Leo puts it, ask yourself a couple questions: “Does the furnace have a “high cycle rate?” ie. on and off a lot?” “Does it seem to run most of the time?” If the answer is yes to one or both of these questions, Leo continues, “it’s a sure indication the furnace isn’t operating as designed.” Call in the qualified pro; Leo of Prescott Air Conditioning and Heating to look into the possible causes. Most remedies are simple repairs and your furnace will be purring along again in no time!

7. If Your Furnace Has Had It, It’s Not All Bad News!

The nuts & bolts of it: Many issues can cause a furnace to quit and need a Prescott Furnace Repair Service. (Rarely) is its life just over and in need of replacement. If the cost of the repair is uneconomical and a new furnace is the only option, keep in mind that a replacement heating unit doesn’t come cheap. (This is why Leo pulls out all his tricks of 33 years to repair your furnace-safely). When a new unit is the only option, there is a silver lining. New furnaces offer much higher efficiency, so you’ll save money every month on energy bills and recoup the cost of the new unit in just a few short years. Please be advised, to get the best benefits from a new furnace, it must be installed correctly. Not just installed, connected & turned on as a typical “installer” might do. There are many factors to address before commissioning your new unit into operation, including gas pressure adjustment, air flow and carbon monoxide testing. That’s where the “Technician with over 30 years of experience” comes into play. Performing these simple tests and adjustments will ensure a safe, long furnace life and optimal comfort for your home. For such an important undertaking, many choose to work with a small, local, well established outfit, to receive that one on one personal attention your new unit deserves. And that’s exactly what Leo and his wife provide.

Are you having issues with your furnace? Are your gas bills unusually high? Contact Leo of Prescott Air Conditioning and Heating Repair at 928-308-1254 or schedule a heating assessment today.