Is It Time To Upgrade Your Furnace?

Once you have owned a home and weathered snow, ice, thunderstorms, and black-outs, you tend to take more notice to that piece of machinery we call a furnace.

A newly installed furnace can last 15 to 25 years, but when you use it close to six months out of a year, it is impossible to sit back and forget about it.

If you aren’t savvy when it comes to HVAC, it may be hard to know when your furnace is getting ready to die on you, and there is nothing worse than below zero weather without working heat.

You need to know whether your furnace is going to last for a while or if you should be looking for a new high-efficiency model for your home.

There are three things you should look at when determining whether or not to replace your furnace:

1. How old is your furnace, and how well have you cared for it?

If your furnace has been well-maintained, it should last 20 years or more. That is, it will last that long as long as it has been taken care of properly.

This means the filter has been replaced at least once every season, you have had it inspected by an HVAC technician every year, and you have checked and cleaned the fan and blower consistently. Furnaces that have been taken care of in this way can last 25 years. If yours has been neglected, it may have to be replaced within 10 to 15 years.

2. Will it be better to have it fixed or have it replaced?

The older your furnace, the more likely it is that replacing it will be the best option says FurnaceUSA Chicago. If your furnace is not very old, paying a few hundred to replace a broken fan would probably be worth the repair cost. But if the furnace is reaching the end of its lifespan, you may find that it is worth the money to replace it right now, rather than keep throwing money at the dying machine.

It can be challenging to determine which is the better option, but it will be easier if you know the signs of a failing furnace.

Is there a wide temperature difference between different areas of your home? If the problem is not bad insulation, it could mean you have a serious problem with your furnace.

How often does your furnace go on and off? If it cycles more frequently as time goes on, then your furnace has a hard time keeping the temperature of your home consistent.

Is it making noise? If your furnace is humming at you, it is shouting for help.

Have you noticed there is more dust on your furniture and gathering in corners? This may be because your furnace is blowing out dust and soot.

Once you sit down and add up the cost of the repairs you need, you could be looking at upwards of 1,000 dollars in repair work. That is 20 percent of the cost of a brand new furnace.

3. Is your furnace using more or saving more energy?

Keeping an old furnace running can mean much higher heating bills. Furnaces with an Energy Star rating have the rating displayed on the side. The SaskEnergy calculator you can find online can help you find out how much money you could save if you upgrade to a new furnace. The new high-efficiency furnaces are much less expensive to keep running than a model from 20 years ago.

When you replace your old furnace with a new model, you will not only save money on your energy bills; you will also get a warranty that covers 5 to 10 years on parts and repairs and a 20-year warranty on the heat exchanger. If your furnace is old by any standard, it is time to get a new one.

Learn The 4 Major Parts Of Your Air Conditioner

Most people do not get excited learning about the inner workings of their air conditioning system. But, a well-maintained system is what will keep you cool during the hottest days of the Summer.

Learning about the major parts of your air conditioner could help you to spot a problem before a much more expensive repair is needed. If you are able to identify even a small problem, it could save you from paying for costly repairs in the future.

You do not have to be an HVAC industry expert; however, but it will help you to learn the basics of how your air conditioner operates.

The Four Big Components of Your AC System

The central air unit is actually referred to as a split system. This means that there is one portion of the unit located outside of your house, and the other is installed inside.

The interior portion that is connected inside of your home is hooked up to the air handler that is designed to pass air through the filtration system and to the ducts in your home. The air travels outside of your home, through a series of coils and then goes back inside your house.

Do you think this sounds complicated? Yes, it takes some understanding of your system, but the four major components are represented in this diagram to guide you.

1. Evaporator

It is the evaporator that actually delivers the cool air inside of your house during hot weather. Pressurization is used by the evaporator to change the refrigerant in your system into a gas. A fan is used to blow air from your house over the top of the coils and then back inside your house.

It is important to watch for too little or too much refrigerant because your evaporator can be damaged. When the component goes bad, it does not work correctly. When there is too much refrigerant in the system, liquid gets inside the compressor and will cause damage.

2. Expansion Valve

The expansion valve plays an important role in the evaporation system. This component is located between the evaporator and the condenser. It is the job of the expansion valve to remove the pressure from the refrigerant. This allows the evaporator to work properly.

You can tell if your expansion valve is working correctly or is malfunctioning in a couple of ways.

If there is warm air or frost blowing through your AC, it could mean that your expansion valve is not able to process the coolant as required.

When the compressor is not able to shut off, it is pumping refrigerant constantly. This is another sign of a faulty expansion valve.

3. Condenser

Located outside of your unit, the condenser performs the opposite function of an evaporator. It turns refrigerant into a liquid again using a process known as heat transfer.

Since this part is an integral part of your air conditioning system, it is essential to make sure this part is working correctly. You can watch out for electrical issues or debris that could be contributing to the lack of performance of your condenser.

4. Compressor

The compressor works in conjunction with the condenser. These two parts are what makes the heat transfer process possible. The compressor is used to re-pressurize refrigerant which turns it back into a liquid again. Air then travels between the condenser and the evaporator.

If not properly maintained, a compressor is likely going to have an issue or fail completely. A motor is used to provide its power, and this mechanical part can fail without warning. It can overheat, stutter or burn out when you turn on your system. You can listen to unfamiliar sounds to help diagnose an air conditioning compressor problem.

If you hear something that is not right, call us to schedule a service appointment.

Leaking Refrigerant is a Problem

One common problem that homeowners face with an air conditioner is leaking refrigerant. The evaporator and compressor can handle each leak out refrigerant. Sometimes, this happens in the compressor or at the expansion valve. If the refrigerant is leaking out of your unit, the problem must be addressed by a qualified HVAC technician.

Common signs that refrigerant is leaking includes:

  • Puddles of water near your furnace or AC unit.
  • Lack of air flow is coming out of the vents.
  • Air feels much warmer.
  • It takes too long to cool your house.

If you notice these signs, you will likely require a technician. It is much better to take care of a small problem before a much larger one happens in the future.

We Fix Any Problem

A correct diagnosis of a problem is the first step to repairing one. Our expert team of air conditioning professionals identifies non-working parts. We come to your home, examine your system, and we make sure that your air conditioner is working correctly and efficiently.