Depending on the type of heating system installed inside your home, you should get between 10 and 15 years of reliable indoor comfort. However, that reliability is contingent on proper maintenance from a skilled HVAC technician. Doing your part to ensure your heating equipment stays functioning at peak efficiency for years to come also includes watching out for signs that your units need repair. Eventually, you’ll need to swap them out for newer systems, but until then, it’s vital to follow some best practices to ensure you stay warm during the most brutal winters.
Schedule Seasonal Checkups
Writing for This Old House magazine, Max Alexander recommended scheduling a checkup on one’s home heating equipment every fall. Additionally, he detailed some of the typical steps your HVAC technician will likely follow during his or her yearly maintenance tasks:
- Checking thermostat settings
- Inspecting and tightening electrical and fuel connections
- Verifying that burner combustion and heat exchangers function properly
- Lubricating moving parts
- Cleaning inside assemblies and ensuring they’re in good working order
- Replacing filters
This yearly inspection is not just an opportunity to give your systems a tune-up. It can also help your technician spot any developing problems that haven’t yet become apparent through observable symptoms. His or her findings during this checkup may result in a list of recommended repairs or other maintenance tasks to keep your units from malfunctioning in the upcoming year.
Signs That Your Furnace Needs Repair
Having your HVAC company conduct a yearly checkup cuts back on the chances you’ll incur sudden, unexpected repair bills. However, some surprises can still happen. It’s a good idea to keep your eyes peeled and your ears open for these six critical signs that you should call your technician for furnace repair:
- A reduced or complete lack of heated air
- A nonfunctioning thermostat
- Notifications from your in-home carbon monoxide alarms
- Banging, humming or rattling sounds
- Rising utility bills with no change in usage
- Frequently cycling (shutting off and then back on again)
By using thorough diagnosis techniques, your professional repair person will be able to determine the root cause. However, it doesn’t hurt to have a little understanding of what might be interfering with your furnace’s proper functioning. Thermostats can fail to correctly sense your home’s temperature or communicate with the assemblies responsible for adjusting the amount of heated air. A cracked heat exchanger could leak deadly carbon monoxide gas inside your home, and internal components such as the ignitor can make noise when they develop faults. Meanwhile, increased heating bills mean that your system’s not working efficiently.
When Is It Time to Replace Your Furnace?
If your furnace has needed frequent repairs and your energy bills are steadily increasing, it may be time to invest in a new furnace. Ongoing problems such as excess dusty and humidity, uneven temperature distribution throughout your home and extremely noisy operation can signal the need for replacement. Furthermore, ENERGY STAR also advises swapping out your equipment if it’s greater than 15 years old. A furnace that’s qualified by ENERGY STAR is typically 15 percent more efficient than conventional models, and this can translate into noticeable savings on your home energy bill.
Staying warm each winter depends on the consistent, efficient operation of your home heating systems. Without regular checkups and prompt attention to needed repairs, your furnace may break down unpredictably, leaving you and your family in the cold. Scheduling an inspection every fall helps you prepare each winter season, and you must have a reliable, trustworthy HVAC company on hand to deal with breakdowns. With these steps, along with replacing your units when they’re at the end of their lifespan, you’ll ensure that you enjoy indoor comfort every year.