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Keeping Up with Your Furnace

How is your furnace performing? As winter approaches, it’s wise to have your furnace inspected and routine furnace maintenance performed, so that you don’t find yourself freezing in the winter, waiting for furnace repair. No matter how well you maintain your furnace, though, there will come a time for furnace replacement. How will you know when it’s time? Perhaps more importantly, how much does a new furnace cost?

A Furnace In Decline

Even if you’ve been diligent, replacing your furnace filter regularly and having a professional inspect your heating and cooling systems twice a year, you might still notice some signs that your furnace is on the way out. While you probably want to delay a new furnace install as long as you can, there are certain signs that you shouldn’t ignore.

  • An increase in monthly bills probably means your furnace needs attention. Fortunately, this doesn’t always mean replacing it. Sometimes, dirty air filters or faulty internal components are to blame, and your furnace technician can address these things during the fall inspection.
  • A faulty furnace won’t heat effectively. Obviously, if your furnace stops working entirely, you will know to replace it. However, it doesn’t have to completely fail to be inefficient. If the furnace heats unevenly or fails to turn on, it could be a problem with your thermostat or dirty air filters, or it could be your thermostat is on the way out.
  • Short cycling can be a sign of trouble. Short cycling is the term for a furnace turning on and off too frequently. If your furnace is too big for your house, this can cause short cycling, but there are other causes as well. If this is happening, it needs to be addressed, because it can shorten your heating system’s lifespan.
  • Unusual noises mean your furnace needs help. IF your furnace is squealing, squeaking, rattling, banging, or screeching, it’s either haunted or in need of repair. Repair is the more common of these options, and only an expert technician can determine which parts are behind the terrible sounds and need help. Sometimes, something needs to be replaced, but it can also be something as simple as a need for lubrication.
  • Abnormal smells are never a good sign. If there’s a gas smell, you should immediately turn off the furnace and leave the house, taking your pets with you, until someone can come fix the furnace. If you smell burning plastic or a metallic smell, it’s not as dire, but could still be a fire hazard, so turn off your furnace until it can be repaired or replaced. Typically, routine maintenance will catch these things before they become a problem. If you turn on the furnace and smell something burning, but it doesn’t smell like burning plastic, it’s probably just dust in the system and it will burn off soon. If you smell something musty, though, it could be mold. This requires attention, because mold can be harmful to your health.
  • Sometimes, a furnace simply comes to the end of its lifespan. A furnace that’s more than 15 years old, it’s time to start thinking about replacing it. Even if it’s not quite that old, but you find you’re repairing it frequently, it may be time for a new one. The rule of thumb is to add up the costs of repairs, and if they equal more than one-third of what it would cost to replace the furnace, it’s time for a new one. Also, if your furnace has needed repairs twice in the past two years, you need to replace it.

How much does furnace installation cost?

This is a hard question to answer, because there are many different factors that come into play. The national average for full installation is estimated to be between about $4,800 and $9,400, but it can go higher or lower, depending on which type of furnace you choose. An electric furnace costs much less to install than a furnace that is powered by natural gas, propane, or oil. The operational costs of an electric furnace are higher, however, and a natural gas furnace offers the lowest yearly costs. Natural gas is also less harmful to the environment than oil or propane, but it does require the presence of a gas line.

Your furnace efficiency will also have an impact on the cost. Furnaces that are more energy efficient tend to cost more, but, again, they cost less to operate. When you are choosing a furnace, look at its efficiency rating, and ask your technician for help determining the right size for your house. A furnace that is too small won’t effectively heat your home, and a too-large furnace will be prone to short-cycling.

Benefits of a New Furnace

Obviously, if your furnace stops working, you’ll need to replace it. However, installing a new furnace offers benefits beyond being able to heat your home. New furnaces typically have better ventilation systems and air filters, which means that by installing a new furnace, you will automatically improve your air quality. What’s more, newer model furnaces are designed to be more energy efficient than older models, so you can expect to lower your energy consumption and, by extension, costs. While your initial cost for a new furnace and installation may seem high, you will find that it’s much cheaper in the long run to have a furnace that works more effectively and is more energy efficient.

Call Barstow and Sons for All Your Furnace Needs

Whether you need annual maintenance or you have a problem with your heating system and need to install a new furnace, contact Barstow and Sons for help. A full-service heating and cooling service company, we’ve been providing high-quality service to customers throughout Anne Arundel County, Severna Park, Pasadena, and Annapolis since 1980. We’ve built a reputation for our dedication to excellence, and we’re here for our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call (410) 777-9148 to learn more or contact us through our website.

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