Given California’s reputation for being sunny and warm, you might be surprised to learn local energy activists are trying new devices to reduce carbon use: heat pumps. The argument is that a cost-effective switch to a heat pump over gas furnaces might cut back on dangerous emissions.

No matter where you stand on the issue, furnace replacements can be a smart move. Newer models can make a home much more energy-efficient, and they may even save you money in the long run, especially if you have a heating company on speed dial for furnace repair.

If you have a struggling system on your hands and you’re not sure what to do, here are a few signs that a furnace replacement should be in your future.

Yellow Pilot Light

With a gas-powered furnace, a sickly yellow pilot light is a bad sign. This means the flame can’t get enough oxygen, which in turn means the gas won’t burn as it should. When that happens, your system will struggle to heat your home.

Cleaning the area around a pilot light can sometimes help. You should also make sure you have good ventilation around it.

Otherwise, your pale or flickering flame may be a sign that your system is on its last legs. This is especially true if you’ve also noticed heavy soot in the area, as it may mean that your furnace is no longer burning gas properly.

Health Issues

We use our HVAC systems to improve our comfort, but we often forget what it does for our health. Your system removes airborne contaminants from your home and helps maintain consistent humidity.

When it isn’t performing as it should, however, it can become a health hazard.

A failing furnace will start to lose its ability to clean the air. Dirty air ducts, a broken humidifier, mold growth in the system, and other common problems can wreak havoc on your air quality. When this happens, you might start to notice allergy-like symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and itching around the eyes or nose.

Worse, some failing systems will even leak carbon monoxide. This odorless gas is a huge danger to your household, which is why it’s crucial to check your carbon monoxide detectors at least once a month while your furnace is in use.

Be on the lookout for common symptoms like dizziness, weakness, headaches, and nausea. Turn off your system, leave the house, and call an expert if you suspect a carbon monoxide leak.

Inconsistent Heating

Poor temperature control is often a sign of a malfunctioning unit.

You may notice that your thermostat doesn’t work as well as it used to, even with battery changes and a professional AC and heating tune-up. Some of the rooms in your home may be colder than others. The heater may work at certain times of the day and not others.

If you’re lucky, the fix may be straightforward. Things like fan issues or a dirty air filter can sometimes cause inconsistent heating, for example. However, if you’ve been struggling with poor heating for a while despite troubleshooting, a replacement may be in your future.

Rising Energy Costs

When your furnace is working at peak efficiency, your monthly utility bills should stay low. This is most typical with newer systems.

Through frequent use, however, your system’s parts will begin to wear down. Regular heating and cooling maintenance can keep the system clean and lubricated, and you’ll probably need an expert to replace the occasional broken component, but this can only do so much.

If you’ve noticed rising energy costs, it may be a sign that your furnace is struggling to keep up with your household’s needs. When your system works harder to bring up the temperature in your home, your bills rise as well.

Replacing your system with a newer model can not only improve your home’s comfort but also its efficiency. As the technology develops, newer HVAC systems perform better than ever and often come with longer lifespans than their predecessors.

Frequent Repairs

No matter the age of your HVAC system, frequent repairs should be a red flag. If it feels like you’re always searching “heating and cooling near me” to find emergency services, it may be a sign that something is causing your furnace to struggle.

Older furnaces are more likely than others to need repairs. However, frequent repairs can also be an issue with furnaces that weren’t properly installed, aren’t the right size for your home, or haven’t gotten the routine maintenance they need.

In some cases, the cost of frequent repairs can even outweigh the cost of a new system. Contact a specialist to help you decide what’s best for your wallet and comfort.

An Aging Heater

As we’ve mentioned above, older heaters often lose their efficiency and have more frequent breakdowns.

On average, furnaces should last anywhere from 15-20 years with proper maintenance.

If you don’t remember when you got your furnace or if it was already installed when you bought your house, check for tags and stickers on the side of it. These will often provide info on the unit’s make and model, serial number, or production date. You can use these details to research online or contact the manufacturer.

If your furnace is near the end of its lifespan, a replacement is often a wiser choice than repairs. Though it may cost more up front, a new unit will often save you more on utility bills and repairs in the long run.

Get Furnace Repair or Replacement

With proper care, your HVAC system can serve your home for decades. However, wear from frequent use can put a serious strain on your unit, making a full replacement your best move.

If you’re not sure whether you need a furnace repair or a new system, the experts at Milano Mechanical can help. As the industry leader for heating products and services throughout Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Roseville, Rocklin, and the surrounding areas, we’ll help you resolve your heating issues and ensure your home’s comfort. Contact us to schedule your system repair or replacement today.

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