Is Your Furnace Not Keeping Up Its Pace?


Utilities in the home perform best when they are running efficiently. That means, for the cost and energy put into them, they are providing the maximum possible output consistently from day to day. However, being that heaters and air conditioners are mechanical, they only stay efficient when maintained.

Everything suffers from wear and tear in the mechanical world, and furnaces are no exception. Use creates damage which makes a furnace less and less effective over time. Understanding what this turns into with condition and performance helps identify when the furnace can be repaired as well as when it is time for a replacement.

What to Look for in Furnace Trouble

The signs of an inefficient furnace can vary from one home to the next, but over time they clump together in certain predictable categories that can be watched for.

One of the first signs of trouble is a furnace not being able to heat a home properly to the desired level. Given a reasonable setting, and no leaks in the system as well as no windows open, a furnace should be able to heat a home to the target temperature within a few minutes, 20 at the longest if in the low 60s to mid 70s. If it’s taking longer or the system isn’t blowing warm air at all, there’s a performance problem.

Again, assuming no leaks in the system, another sign of inefficiency is a short cycle performance where the furnace shuts itself off prematurely. This type of situation could be a safety issue where a sensor is triggering the furnace to stop working to cool down again. Short-cycling tends to be a bit more serious, and homeowners should definitely have a technician look at the furnace if it’s confirmed and happening repeatedly.

Utility bills are also a good indicator of something wrong with the furnace. If the typical heating bill suddenly spikes dramatically, and the rate being charged by the utility is the same as before, then the furnace is suddenly consuming more fuel or energy for a reason. Obviously, it’s not returning full value for the money spent, which is the definition of inefficiency in operation. This type of situation could take a bit longer to see since it requires comparison of utility charges from month to month.

The age of the model involved can end up creating inefficiency in the environment for a furnace. Modern units include a significant amount of technological improvement over furnaces that were built only a decade ago. The translation of energy provided, whether fuel or natural gas, to desired output in heating form continues to be transformed with new paradigms in mechanical design. No surprise, even industry standards which usually move much slower, can quickly leave older home models behind. That said, what is “inefficient” by industry standards may not matter for a homeowner’s personal experience and want, so personal research makes a difference here.

Finding Professional Help for Faulty Furnaces

If you’re not sure your furnace is running right, or it’s providing its most efficient performance, the best way to confirm what’s going on would be a furnace inspection by a professional heating technician. Instead of guessing what might be going on, a technician can come into a home and provide a full checklist review of the appliance. Not only will this help confirm the current condition of the unit, but it may also provide a heads-up on potential issues that need maintenance.

Additionally, a technician’s review may find that the current furnace is actually a safety hazard, and the symptom of its poor performance is an early warning sign. Again, a professional check can be a huge benefit for a homeowner, avoiding a bigger problem down the road.

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