Even though it might be durable and built to last, keeping an older furnace in use when it’s outdated will not only cost more because of higher heating costs and repairs, but it can also become a significant safety hazard as well.
To make matters worse, these hazards are more likely to happen if the furnace didn’t get proper maintenance over the years.
In order to help you learn about some of the hidden dangers of an old furnace and know which warning signs to watch for, our team here at Mason Heating & Air put together the following:
3 Major Dangers of Old Heating Equipment
After years of use, the safety features in older furnaces designed to prevent carbon monoxide from becoming a problem tend to become unreliable. When this happens, it can put you and your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Additionally, because furnaces lose efficiency as they grow older, this can also lead to the leakage of smaller levels of carbon monoxide that might not immediately trip safety sensors. If this happens, over time the levels could cause health problems.
Throughout Ohio’s coldest weather, our furnaces are built to heat our homes safely and effectively. And while almost all these systems have built-in safety features to prevent fires, many of them stop working over time. As such lifespan estimates indicating how long a heating system will work should be understood in the context that these numbers are merely averages, or ballpark figures. Lifespan estimates don’t take into account how well the safety mechanisms work in older systems. Because of this, people need to remember all safety features are there to ensure safety. Having said that, if your furnace is well past its estimated lifespan, it’s a good idea to at least have its safety features checked by a certified HVAC technician near you.
When natural gas is used to produce heat, the furnace is far more prone to gas leaks as it ages, as opposed to some of the newer models that use far safer and far more efficient technology. When a gas furnace begins to get older, it corrodes and can easily develop smaller leaks. Again here, while most furnaces have safety features designed to warn you, these features become unreliable in older furnaces. If you have an oil furnace, keep in mind they are no exception. Oil furnaces are prone to fuel leakages that can damage the home and cause fires under the right circumstances.
Serious Warning Signs
As we’ve explored here, the hidden dangers of an old furnace are serious. As such, it’s imperative each and every homeowner keeps an eye out for the signs of major trouble. It’s essential to be proactive and practice caution keeping safety first, especially when we have family living with us. A few of the more common warning signs of trouble include:
- Flu-Like Symptoms: An odorless, invisible gas, people rarely notice carbon monoxide when it leaks. However, if you or your loved ones are experiencing flu-like symptoms, it could be a sign. As such, flu-like symptoms should be taken seriously, and this possibility should be considered.
- Yellow Flame: The flames coming from our burner and pilot light should always be blue and they should never be flickering. If you see the flame flickering, or if it has turned yellow, you should immediately call us because there could be carbon monoxide or gas leaking.
- Increasing Energy Consumption: If your heating costs are on the rise or if they seem higher than normal, your furnace might need to be repaired or replaced. Nonetheless, moving forward it’s good to monitor the money you have going out on heating costs on a month to month basis as this could be a sign of something going awry.
- Unusual Noises: If you hear any rattling, banging, grinding, popping, or squealing noises coming from your furnace, it’s another sign your system is heading for trouble. Another noise to listen for is the sound of a blower running constantly.
What can be done to avoid furnace problems?
Considering all the hidden dangers of an old furnace and their signs and implications, a homeowner who has had the same system any number of years is likely to wonder: What can I do to avoid these hidden dangers if my furnace is older?
The best answer we can give, other than the obvious of replacing it, involves making sure you have a professional HVAC technician perform maintenance prior to every heating season. Maintenance not only allows one of our friendly technicians to detect these sorts of problems early on, but it also gives you the chance to stop them in the first place — all the while saving you hard-earned money on energy costs while prolonging the lifespan of your heating equipment.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Mason Heating & Air at 513-496-2477, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here!