After a cold Colorado winter, or perhaps a spring snowstorm, you’re probably putting your furnace to good use. However, a furnace on its last legs can make things cold, uncomfortable, and unpredictable, especially as temperatures drop.

Here are six things to look for as signs that it’s probably time to get a new furnace.

  • The furnace is older than 15 years. The average lifespan of a gas furnace is 18 years, but most people have them replaced every 12-15 years. In fact, most professionals recommend replacing furnaces that are more than 15 years old with an energy efficient model.
  • You have had frequent furnace maintenance in the last two years. Every furnace hit a point where they are so old and broken that repairing it further isn’t worth the cost. For most models, this occurs in the last two years of its life.
  • Your electric costs have jumped. An increase in your heating bill compared to previous years likely means internal parts of the furnace are giving out and making it less effective. If that’s the case, it’s probably time to cut your losses and put the extra money you’re spending on the heating bill into the cost of a new furnace.
  • Your house isn’t heated evenly. A furnace on its last legs typically has trouble dispersing heat throughout the house, leading to uneven heating and some rooms that are too hot or too cold. Faulty furnaces also have problems keeping the heat coming at a constant level, which is likely why you feel you are constantly adjusting the thermostat.
  • The furnace makes unusual noises. Furnaces can occasionally make sounds, but anything extremely loud or out of the ordinary, especially if it starts happening on a regular basis, is cause for concern. This includes rattling, banging, or popping noises, especially when the furnace is first turned on, which can indicate the furnace is having a hard time booting up or a part isn’t working or connecting properly.
  • The pilot light burns yellow. The flame of a furnace, or the pilot light, should burn blue. A yellow flame can indicate the furnace is producing carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas that can be deadly. Other signs of carbon monoxide include extra moisture around windows and cold surfaces, streaks of soot around the furnace, or rust on the flue pipes. A carbon monoxide leak can be very serious, so have your house tested as soon as possible and have the furnace replaced quickly.

If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, now is the time to talk to a professional about getting a new furnace before it breaks unexpectedly and you’re left in a cold house. Paying attention to the warning signs now can definitely pay off in the long run.

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