Have questions about your home heating system? Here are common questions customers ask about furnace installation and repair in Las Vegas.
When Should I Replace My Furnace?
On average, a furnace will last for 15-20 years as long as it’s well maintained. The lifespan of a furnace depends on a few factors, though. Older furnaces have a longer life than modern furnaces. This is because heat exchangers in the past were made from cast iron and heavy metal. Those exchangers can last up to 40 years. Today’s aluminized and stainless steel exchangers have a maximum life of 25 years.
If your furnace is 13+ years old, your heating costs or high, or you notice warning signs of failure, we recommend furnace replacement.
Every Time My Furnace Starts It Makes a Clicking Sound. Is That Normal?
Furnaces can make many noises during operation, including clangs, clicks, and bumps. Different noises can indicate certain problems with the system.
If your furnace makes a clicking noise when it tries to start but does not produce heat, the problem is it’s trying to ignite the pilot light and failing. This ignition system will need to be repaired. The click is the spark of the spark ignitor. The problem may be related to the thermocouple, gas valve, or flame sensor.
How Do I Know My Furnace Needs to Be Replaced?
Your furnace will give many warning signs that it’s getting ready to fail. Of course, your goal should be replacing the furnace before that happens! Not sure what your furnace is trying to tell you? Here are the biggest signs your furnace needs to be replaced.
- Your furnace is old. While a furnace can last up to 20 years, most don’t. At least, not without expensive repairs. If your furnace is nearing 15 years old, it’s time to shop for a new furnace. Otherwise, you may end up replacing it in an emergency and you will make a rushed decision
- Your energy bills are high. If you notice your energy costs increasing, it’s a sign that your air conditioner or furnace is malfunctioning. Your furnace will lose efficiency as it gets older. This is even truer if it has not been maintained properly. This can cause your furnace to run longer to produce the same amount of heat. The longer it runs, the higher your energy bills. You can try changing your furnace’s air filter. If this doesn’t help, your furnace is probably at the end of its life.
- Your furnace needs to be repaired often. If your furnace has been repaired two or more times in the last year or so, it’s probably on its last legs. Frequent repairs indicate the entire system is breaking down. Even though repairs may delay the inevitable, they can be costly. Buying a new furnace will cost more than repairs upfront, but it will also save you in the long run. As a general rule, replace the furnace if repairs will cost 50% or more of a replacement.
- Your gas furnace has a yellow burner flame. The flame on a gas furnace should be blue with a small yellow tip at the inner cone. If your entire flame is yellow, it means your furnace may be making carbon monoxide. This dangerous gas can also leave soot around the furnace, no upward draft in the chimney, and excess moisture on the windows and walls.
- You notice uneven temperatures. Are some rooms in your home too cold and others too hot? Do you have to constantly adjust your thermostat? This is a sign your furnace is failing and struggling to maintain a constant temperature.
What Is the Most Efficient Type of Heating System?
The main types of heating systems for a home are hot water boilers, electric heat pumps, and forced air furnaces. Furnaces may use electricity, gas, or propane as a fuel source. Gas is much more efficient than electricity so it should be your top choice if you have gas lines in your home.
Boilers are less efficient than furnaces. Boilers are required to have an AFUE of at least 80%, but boilers use electricity as well as their primary fuel.
Can You Service My Old Heating System or Do I Have
to Buy a New One?
to Buy a New One?
Whether we can service or repair your aging furnace depends on a few factors. If your furnace has a fatal problem, which means repairing it would cost more than replacing it, buying a new furnace is the best option. This is likely to be the case if the heat exchanger is cracked or damaged. After all, it doesn’t make sense to spend $800 to repair a 16-year-old furnace that you could replace for $1,800. To repair a furnace, we must be able to find the parts. If your furnace is very old or the manufacturer has gone out of business, this may be a problem.
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What Size Furnace Do I Need?
The contractor who installs your new furnace should perform a Manual J load calculation. This will determine the right system size in BTUs or tons for your home. The calculation considers your whole home, including window efficiency and square footage.
To size a furnace yourself, determine the square footage of your home. Next, multiply 30-35 BTU times the total square footage for a warm climate like Las Vegas. For example, 20 BTU x 1,600 square feet would be 48,000. For a 1,600 square foot home, a minimum of 48,000 BTU per hour will be needed to heat the home.
You will still need to make adjustments for special conditions. Reduce the capacity by 10% if the room is very sunny. Consider the efficiency rating of the furnace, too. Furnaces are not rated by the BTU output you receive but the amount of heat they generate.
When Is the Best Time to Replace a Furnace?
HVAC contractors get very busy during the intense summer months and when it gets chilly. Fall is the best time to replace your furnace before the weather gets cold and everyone decides to replace their failing furnace. If you wait until you have a serious problem, you may make a rushed decision. You will also end up paying higher rates for installation.
What is AFUE?
All furnaces are rated by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratio. This is basically the percent of heat the furnace will produce for every $1 of fuel consumed. You can think of the AFUE ratio as the miles-per-gallon (MPG) rating on a vehicle. It’s important to understand your furnace’s AFUE rating because heating and cooling account for 50% of your home’s energy use. The higher a furnace’s AFUE rating, the lower your fuel costs will be.
If a furnace has an AFUE rating of 80, it will convert 80% of its fuel into usable heat and 20% will be wasted. Waste can come from inefficient burners, air leaks, or a design that simply isn’t advanced. A furnace with an AFUE rating of 90 or higher is considered a high-efficiency furnace. If you replace an older or less efficient furnace with one rated 90 or higher, you can save hundreds per year
What Should I Look for When Shopping for a New Furnace?
We recommend looking at the following when shopping for a new furnace.
- FUEL SOURCE. Make sure you are choosing the appropriate type of fuel source, whether you have a gas, oil, or electric furnace. Gas furnaces are the most affordable to operate, but you will need gas lines in your home
- BLOWER SPEED. You can choose between variable-speed blowers and fixed-speed blowers when you buy a furnace. A variable-speed blower is more expensive but it offers greater comfort. This type of furnace blower adjusts its speed while distributing air. The result is quieter operation and a more consistent temperature.
- COST. The purchase price of the furnace is just one factor affecting its cost. Don’t forget to consider furnace installation and expected efficiency. The features you choose can also increase or reduce the cost.
- SIZE. Sizing is very important when it comes to replacing a furnace. A furnace that is too large or too small will fail to heat the home efficiently. Improperly sized furnaces can burn out too soon or run constantly.
- REBATES. There may be incentives or rebates available if you buy a qualifying furnace. Check with your utility company, local HVAC contractors, and HVAC supply stores to find out if there are rebates in your area.
- AFUE RATING. The higher the rating, the more efficient the furnace. Choosing a furnace with a high AFUE rating can save a significant amount of money over the life of your furnace.
How Can I Help Maintain My Furnace?
Proper maintenance is the best way to extend the life of your furnace and reduce your heating costs. You can follow these simple care guidelines to keep your furnace working as long as possible.
- Keep moisture levels low. High humidity in your home can make your heat exchanger rust. This greatly reduces its lifespan. Add a dehumidifier to your home if humidity is too high period.
- Change your air filter. A dirty furnace air filter reduces the amount of air reaching the system. This can cause the furnace to overheat and damage the heat exchanger. You should change the air filter every 30 to 60 days.
- Clean your AC coil. If you have an AC with a coil on top of your furnace, keep it clean. This will extend the life of your air conditioner and furnace. A clean coil prevents the drain from clogging and leaking condensation onto the furnace.
- Have the furnace serviced. You should schedule annual maintenance on your furnace from an experienced furnace contractor. This checkup will involve cleaning and lubricating the blower, sealing duct connections, removing soot and dirt from the furnace, and more.