5 Warning Signs That Your Furnace is On the Fritz

From on December 20, 2011 in Air Conditioning & Heating


With cold weather upon you, you may have your furnace on the brain. There’s nothing that calls this important appliance to mind like knowing that something about it isn’t right.

Perhaps it’s old enough that you know it’s got to be working inefficiently. (Don’t delay to solve this problem—inefficient heating can leak up to 30% of energy—and money—from your home.) Or, perhaps you have a suspicion that, though the time to replace hasn’t yet come, it will before long.

Face it. Your furnace may be on the fritz. If any of the following sound even vaguely familiar, it may be time to call a professional. A heating contractor can properly diagnose the problem and confirm your suspicions—and give you steps to take to replace the parts (or entire unit) needed to keep your home warm and efficient this winter.

If you’re here to get pricing on a furnace upgrade, click here.

Below are our top 5 warning signs that your furnace is on the fritz.

1. Your Furnace is Over 10 Years Old

After about 10 years, your heater may start working less efficiently than it should. Older heaters boast an estimated AFUE rating of only 55 to 65 percent, while newer modern two-stage closed-combustion gas-fired models boast up to 96.6 percent efficiency. Take a look here at the table compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy to determine your approximate AFUE ratings.

2. High Electrical Bills

If everything seems great with your furnace, but your high energy bill seems to be soaring through the roof this winter, you may be dealing with an inefficient heater. Inefficiency can contribute to a huge waste of energy, leaving your house unsatisfyingly chilly despite the thermostat—not to mention the stress of more money out the door every month.

3. Frequent Asthma, Allergies, Eye Irritation

Health issues can arise when the heating is coming from an old system. Airborne irritants like dust and mold can be emitted from leaky ductwork or dirty air filters, as well as an old furnace. If you’ve been dealing with an unusual amount of health issues this winter, you may be suffering from dangerous mold or irritating air problems—all which can be improved by replacing your furnace and improving the entire system.

4. Ice on the Roof and Cold Drafts

If you feel constant drafts, your heater might not be efficiently covering the whole house. (Another issue connected with heating efficiency might be your windows and doors—if they aren’t sealed properly or are old and drafty, your furnace may be fine but the heat might still leak out of your house.) Ice dams along the edge of your roofing can mean that heat is leaking from your house through your attic, rather than staying put inside.

Check it out with a contractor, and get your home heated right!

5. Condensation

Condensation, or beads of water, on window glass during winter months usually mean that your house has poor ventilation. Unwanted moisture can occur especially with outdated windows and bad heat circulation. The good news is that your entire furnace may not need replacing, but your overall system does need help. A contractor can take a look at your ducts and insulation to make sure the overall system is working fine.

Photo credit: Kent Porter, The Press Democrat/ZUMA Press via Mother Nature Network