How efficient is a 20-year-old furnace?

furnace cleaning

Gas furnace effectiveness

With central heat and air as the most common method to adjust the indoor temperature in a home, gas is still a popular source of energy. For homes with window units for air conditioning, they will have a gas furnace for heat. Like any appliance though, there comes a time you have to determine if your gas furnace repair or replacement is the best option, and at 20 years, you definitely need to consider the options.

Like with a central HVAC system, reasons why need gas furnace repair can vary, and gas furnace repair cost can be expensive depending on its age, brand, and the problem. Parts become harder to get as a gas furnace gets older and finding a technician that knows how to repair gas furnace can be difficult. 

What does a gas furnace do? 

It is cold and snowing, what better way to spend the day toasty warm and watching movies, right? Then, you wake up in the middle of the night and your cold; you pull up covers, still cold. Go check the thermostat and it’s on, warm air should be coming. Nope, it’s cold air. 

That is what a gas furnace is supposed to do!  It is supposed to blow warm air and keep you, your family, and your home toasty warm on a cold, frigid winter day and night. How does it do that?  Read on as we share the basics of a gas furnace heating cycle: 

Your gas furnace is a forced-air unit that goes through a heating cycle that warms your home. That cycle performs as such:

  1. Natural gas ignites the burner.
  2. Flames appear from the burner and a heat exchanger is heated by the flames that the heat that is produced is exhausted out the flue.
  3. The heat is then transferred to the incoming air.
  4. From there, a blower inside the furnace forces the heated air into and throughout the ductwork where the heat is then distributed through you home.
  5. As each room fills with warm air, the cold, dense air is sucked back into the furnace through the return ducts and process repeats.

When should I replace furnace? 

How well you maintain your gas furnace will have a direct result on how long it will last you. However, you shouldn’t ignore its age and replace the unit when it is needed to a high level of efficiency and safety. 

Today, the lifespan of the high-efficiency gas furnace s can last fifteen to twenty years, again, if proper maintenance is performed and repairs are neglected.  Manufacturer warranty is typically 10 to 12 years. So, like it is with your roofing system, if the shingles come with a 20-year warranty, you need to have it inspected frequently to determine if it needs to be replaced sooner. 

How do you know if your furnace is dying?

The most obvious way to know we discussed at the beginning. You wake up freezing in the middle of the night only to find there is no warmth coming from your gas furnace. There are some warning signs that you should pay attention to so that doesn’t happen to you:

  • Your Gas Furnace Age: With the life expectancy of a gas furnace to be 15 to 20 years, you need to start shopping around in that time frame. If you wait and it goes out unexpectedly, the cost to repair it may be more than it is worth, and you’ll be forced to make a rushed and uninformed decision.
  • Increase in Utility Bills: Not only does a roof in need of repair cause your utility bills to increase, but an aging gas furnace does too. They lose their efficiency, especially if regular maintenance has not been performed. So, if your gas bill has increased, but you’re not feeling the warmth, it may not have the same output that is used to.
  • Numerous Gas Furnace Repairs: Your gas furnace just celebrated its 10th or 12th birthday with you, and you’ve had to call the technician out several times in one winter. It may be time to replace it. The repairs will add up to a new unit, and keep in mind, the older it gets, the harder it will be to find parts.
  • It Isn’t Comfortable in Your House:
  • Is it cold in the living room but hot in your bedroom? If you are constantly checking the thermostat to see where the setting is, that is a sign that your gas furnace isn’t able to distribute the air properly throughout your house.
  • The Blue Flame Is Yellow: A flickering or yellow flame instead of a steady blue flame is a sign that your gas furnace is putting out poisonous carbon. If you’re noticing streaks of soot, feeling an upward draft at the chimney, noticing excess moisture on the walls, windows, and other cold areas, your gas furnace isn’t working at its maximum ability anymore.  Other signs of this would be the flue pipes have an excessive amount of rust, there is water leaking from the chimney flue pipe, or vent, or there is rust on the exterior vent pipe.
  • Strange Noises Coming from Your Gas Furnace: You know the noises that a water heater makes that tells you it may be about to go out? The same goes with aging gas furnaces too. Banging, pops, rattling, or squeals aren’t normal for a gas furnace.
  • Sickness in The House: Winter is the time of year that colds and flus prevail, and so does carbon monoxide, a poison that comes from a gas furnace, and it will sneak in undetected. If anyone in your home is experiencing a burning feeling in their eyes or nose, have frequent headaches, or feeling disoriented and nausea, all the gas company immediately and evacuate the house.
  • Dry and Dusty House: Old gas furnace s don’t clean and moisturize your home’s air, so your home will have a stale and stuffy feel about it. If your family has suffered from more allergies than normal, in the old gas furnace isn’t doing its job of providing your home the comfort you should have.

Why do furnaces fail?

Nobody wants their gas furnace to quite right in the middle of the coldest night of the winter, but it happens. Three of the biggest reasons a gas furnace fails are:

  • Installed Improperly:Like anything, if not installed properly, a gas furnace won’t be as efficient as it should and you’re more likely to have more repair calls than normal.
  • Pilot Light Faulty:If your gas furnace won’t turn on, the pilot light has gone out. 
  • Absence of Maintenance:A gas furnace that doesn’t have a regular schedule of maintenance, dirt, and dust will build up inside it and lead to failure. Part of the maintenance is keeping the filter changed and vacuum the vents.
inside of a a furnace

Can a gas furnace explode?

Today, the mechanics of a gas furnace are better than they were 20 years ago, however, it is still possible. Therefore, regular maintenance is a must maintain efficiency and safety. Gas is a cleaner way to cook, heat water, and heat homes. However, it is important to maintain a safe environment with one and keep the maintenance on schedule. Gas is less drying out for the air and skin as opposed to electric heat and it is much safe to use than electric space heaters. Dial 704-964-8375 today for your gas furnace in Charlotte, NC.