For most Calgary households, the furnace just sits in the basement or utility room and goes about its business day in day out.
Until it doesn’t.
That’s when your furnace is thrust to the centre of your world because winter mornings without heating are no laughing matter.
You may be able to troubleshoot and fix some smaller issues if you have a little technical nous but most problems require a professional hand. Serious issues may require a replacement of your old furnace with a newer model.
But how do you know if you need a new furnace or your problem is fixable?
One obvious visible sign is damage (cracks, splits) or rust but there are other subtler signs that your furnace’s best days are well and truly over.
Here are five of the clearest signs that you need to replace your furnace.
1. It’s guzzling too much gas
If you have a furnace that was made 25 years ago, it’s almost certainly less efficient than the ones on the market today using advanced technology.
Just as an old car generally uses more gas than a new one, if you find your monthly gas bills slowly rising, it could be due to an increasingly less-efficient furnace.
Some of the costs of installing a new furnace can be offset by the savings you can make every month on your bill – especially as gas prices in Calgary seem to be forever on the increase.
2. It’s smelly or leaking gas
Consistently bad odours coming from your furnace is an obvious sign that you need to replace the unit.
The fumes are not only unpleasant for the home but they may be endangering your health. Whether it’s diesel fumes or the smell of rotten eggs, something’s not right.
A small amount of carbon monoxide (a colourless, odourless gas) is given off by clean, healthy and efficient gas furnaces through the vents. If a large amount is escaping then this can be extremely dangerous (even fatal) and the furnace will almost certainly need replacing.
Having a professional check carbon monoxide levels regularly is very important.
3.It’s become too noisy
A small amount of noise from your furnace is normal.
No furnace runs silently because it must start up (usually in the middle of the night) and expel air out of your home. However, if the rattles, buzzes or humming noises increase over time it is a sign that something is wrong.
For older furnaces, the noise problem may be un-fixable. You remedy it by installing a new furnace, which should incorporate noise-reducing technology as a matter of course.
4. Uneven heating in your house
As a furnace becomes older and less efficient, it starts to impact the heating in your home.
The temperature from room to room should be approximately the same but an ageing furnace may struggle to maintain the right balance of temperature.
If cleaning the air ducts and re-sealing the windows and doors in the house doesn’t fix the problem, it may be time to get a new furnace.
5. You’re spending too much on maintenance
If you’re having to call in the professionals for regular maintenance on your furnace in addition to the recommended annual checkup, it’s costing you: paying for a callout charge, replacement parts and the time of a professional plumber all adds up.
A new furnace would probably fix all the little niggles, be considerably safer (new furnaces have an automatic shut-off system), and also bring your monthly bills down – offsetting the installation costs of the new furnace.
What are some other reasons for replacing a furnace?
Besides fixing all of the problems outlined above, a new furnace brings the peace of mind of knowing that this winter you’re not going to need to call us out to repair your furnace.
Some homeowners are also concerned about household safety with an old furnace. A new model puts their mind at rest about safety issues.
Older furnaces can have problems with carbon monoxide leakage or other fumes, as well as dust, dander, soot, and rust build up in your home. They can also make the air dry and trigger allergies for family members.
Some homeowners also want to save on space. Most of the newest furnace models are more compact than older, clunkier models, as well as more efficient.
How many years does a furnace usually last?
If you moved into your home in the past 20 years and have never replaced your furnace, you should likely be considering a new one.
Check the manufacturing date on your furnace. The average lifespan ranges from 15-20 years, depending upon the regularity of maintenance and the level of usage.
How much does it cost to replace a gas furnace?
The cost of replacing a furnace depends greatly on the model you choose.
A high-efficiency furnace could cost between $3,000 to $5,500. They can typically save you around 25 to 30 percent of current heating costs.
In a cold climate like Calgary, it may be better to bite the bullet and go for the high-efficiency option but talk to us first for advice.
Considering a replacement furnace in Calgary?
It’s best to replace your furnace before it simply dies on you. That’s really inconvenient.
A trained technician will be able to see the warning signs and advise you when a change to a newer model might be best. That’s why it’s so important to conduct regular maintenance checks on any furnaces that are over 10 years old.
At Pete the Plumber, we recommend annual furnace maintenance to ensure it is functioning efficiently.
We can fix broken furnaces with our emergency repair service or, if you need a new furnace, we can advise on size and help you install it. Don’t forget that all our work is covered by the superhero guarantee program.
Call Pete the Plumber at (403) 257-1766, we’ll arrange a visit to see what the problem is and advise if repairs or a replacement is required.
Looking for a new furnace?
To inquire about installing or replacing your existing furnace, contact us through our online form or give us a call at (403) 257-1766.