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AC and Heating Tip from AC Express

Furnace Warning Signs

Furnace Warning Signs

Welcome to the first day of November everyone! It may be true that fall technically began weeks ago back in September, but many consider the beginning of this month to be the first true beginning to cold weather and the need for heating in Austin. That’s because November tends to be the first month in which we get actually cold weather, not just cool, and not just during the early morning.

With this impending cold weather coming many are counting on their central heating systems in their house working as flawlessly and smoothly as ever. In a perfect world, we don’t have to think about our Austin heating systems, they just work. But unfortunately sometimes we have to reckon with malfunctions and unforeseen circumstances that can leave us out in the cold, literally. No one wants to have to replace their furnace but the truth is that it is an inevitability. Nothing lasts forever and that goes especially true for the heating and cooling world. The best thing you can do if your furnace is on its way out is to notice it early so you can get a new, better furnace in its place before your current furnace starts costing you needless dollars in repairs and high energy bills due to plummeting efficiency. That’s why in this tip, we’ll be looking over some of the biggest and clearest signs that your furnace is on its last legs.

Furnace Age

This isn’t so much a warning sign as it is a gentle indicator. It doesn’t blare at you but it does quietly tick down your furnace’s days. That’s your furnace’s age. You see, furnaces don’t have a built in expiration date, there’s no way to know the exact time and date that it will finally give out, or become too run down to be worth running, but that doesn’t mean there’s no way to gauge how long it might last based on how old it is.

The average life expectancy of furnaces in homes today is between 16 and 20 years. If your furnace is close to this age or older, you should begin shopping. Shopping for a replacement furnace in an emergency does not allow time to make your best decision. Most people prefer to replace their furnace as a planned home improvement rather than a panic replacement when your furnace is faltering or failed, that’s why being aware of the age of your furnace is so important. It allows you to plan for its replacement rather than be surprised by it.

To find out the age of your system, look for that information on the manufacturer’s tag, which is probably on the door of the furnace itself. It should at the very least list the serial number which you can either look up electronically or give to someone over the phone to find out the age of your furnace.

No Warm Air

This is, of course, the most obvious sign of trouble within your furnace. The job of the furnace is to blow warm air into your home and if it is not doing that, something is wrong. That something could very well be a way of your furnace telling you it isn’t going to last much longer.

A furnace that’s not heating your home is a warning sign of imminent furnace failure. It could be a number of different problems causing this, but most often it has to do with the motor in the blower fan. If the blower fan is malfunctioning, the furnace doesn’t have enough power to blow air throughout the home. This can cause cold spots in some parts of the home. If your furnace isn’t blowing any warm air at all, it may be a problem with the heat exchanger or pilot light. Either way, a qualified technician can inspect your furnace in the case that it’s not blowing warm air and diagnose the problem as either an easy fix or impending malfunction.

Unexplainable Turns in Health

This is a particularly alarming warning sign that should not be ignored under any circumstances. Carbon monoxide is a gas that is produced by your heater in the process of heating the air in the heat exchanger. If there’s a certain type of damage or imperfection that develops in your heater, this gas can start to leak into your home. For those with carbon monoxide detectors, it will be obvious when this happens. For those without a carbon monoxide detector, it will be less obvious. The signs will come, though, in the form of sickness within those who share the house.

Symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide exposure include flu-like symptoms of nausea, light-headedness, headaches, etc., and as furnaces age they can develop cracks that allow the toxic gas to flow into your home. If you experience any of the symptoms we listed, open as many windows and doors in your house as possible, get everyone outside, and call the fire department or gas company to shut off the gas.

This isn’t a warning sign to take lightly. If notice that multiple people in your household start to get flu-like symptoms, you have a gas-fueled furnace, and you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, take steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning immediately. It can be lethal with prolonged exposure and even without it will have unpleasant side effects. Of course, the best and most universally recommended way to prevent this is to invest in a carbon monoxide protector. They are cheap and practically a necessity. Either way, carbon monoxide leaking out of your furnace is a warning sign that it may be becoming obsolete.

Strange Sounds

This is a less concerning but all the same prophesizing sign that your furnace may give you. What it refers to is sounds that your furnace may make that aren’t typical of it. Typically, your furnace may make a low hum and blowing noise as it runs and as the fans runs. This is normal and to be expected with every furnace, as none as of yet have been made to be completely silent.

So normal white noise like sounds are to be expected. But if you start hearing pops or squeaks, it may indicate that something has come loose in your unit and needs to be repaired or replaced. Older furnace may began to make noises that sound like rattling, popping or banging near the end of their life. That’s why strange noises emanating from your furnace are a good sign that it could be on its way out. Of course, like all the other signs, the only way to know for sure is to contact a professional Austin heating service to investigate the cause of these noises and how bad the damage is.

Burner Flame Color

This is a warning sign that you’d have to look for to notice but if you notice any of these other signs, looking for this one can be good way to further prove to yourself that your furnace is becoming run down. In perfect working order the flame should be a bright blue. This indicates that your furnace is burning the natural gas fuel as it should and heater is in working condition. A yellow or flickering flame indicates an incomplete burn, which is also a sign that your furnace is producing the highly toxic gas carbon monoxide.

If you notice a yellow pilot light, especially in conjunction with other signs such as excessive condensation, rust, or a rotten egg smell, shut off your furnace immediately and call a heating and air conditioning technician. This warning sign should be taken very seriously. Obstructed airflow can be one part of this problem. A yellow, orange, or red color to the pilot light flame means that your furnace isn’t getting the appropriate mixture of oxygen and gas, which is a problem.

Frequent Repairs

This is perhaps an obvious sign that your furnace needs replacing, but many ignore it due to the fact that repairing is almost always cheaper than replacing, at least in the short run. People tend to think about burdensome and unexpected money concerns in the short term because it can always be initially hard to dole out the big bucks for a whole new system when repair may be just a fraction of the cost. The problem with this line of thinking though is that you’re actually loosing quite a bit of money in the long run and getting headaches and a lack of comfort in exchange.

As furnaces get older they get more prone to wear in tear. This wear and tear sometimes takes the form of breakdowns that require a service technician to come and repair the heater. Sometimes this is an off chance, one time thing. But if you have to have your furnace repaired more than once within the past two years or so, it may be trying to tell you that it has just gotten to the point where no amount of part replacement is going to bring it back to full working condition without spending more than a replacement would cost. There’s no use in pouring money into a dying furnace just to try and avoid the inevitable. This doesn’t even take in to consideration the fact that an older furnace is going to cost you extra monthly in energy bills over what a newer and more efficient model will.

Furnace Warning Signs and Heating Repair in Austin

There are many potential signs that your furnace either will need repair or replacing soon. From strange sounds to not doing its job properly to simply being old, your furnace will likely start telling you somehow when it isn’t going to last much longer. With the help of these tips you should be able to notice those signs sooner and get your furnace replaced with something more efficient and better working.

Sometimes though these signs don’t mean a full replacement is needed. Sometimes a simple repair or tune up is all that is required. In such cases, AC Express can be counted on to deliver quality heater repair in Austin. AC Express is an Austin heater repair company that operates all throughout the Austin area, from Cedar Park and Georgetown to Round Rock and Leander and beyond. If your Austin heating system is causing you stress, don’t fret, call us today!


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