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Signs You Need a New Furnace

a technician working on a furnace

Winter is for bundling up and getting comfy with a mug of hot chocolate and your favorite book. But, cozy winters are only possible if your furnace is working well. If it isn’t working properly, you and your family will be cold and uncomfortable at home. Before the chilly season, ensure your furnace is ready to keep you warm and toasty.

If you’re doubtful that your unit can make it through the winter, here are some signs you need a new furnace. You can also let HVAC professionals check your system. They will tell you if a replacement is necessary and install the new furnace. They can also perform regular tune-ups to prevent costly problems down the line.

Some Signs You Need a New Furnace

Furnaces are durable systems with an average life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. But just like any appliance, they’re not indestructible and will eventually stop working. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell when that time will come. What you can do for now is exercise caution as your furnace enters its final years.

If your furnace has served you for as long as you can remember, these signs will tell you it’s time to retire it and get a new one.

Soaring Energy Bills

Your furnace is one of the largest energy consumers at home, so its efficiency directly affects your expenses. It could be the culprit if you’ve noticed a spike in your utility bills lately.

Newer models with proper maintenance operate at peak efficiency, but performance declines with age. Professional repairs might give your furnace more time, but it could be worth replacing it altogether to save on operating costs.

Freezing Home

If you’re feeling chilly even with the heat on, that’s another sign that your furnace is acting up. However, other causes, like malfunctioning thermostats or air leaks, should be ruled out first.

If you can’t find any other explanation for the cold air in your home, it’s safe to assume that you have furnace issues. Contact an HVAC specialist. This professional will assess the situation and help you decide if it’s time for a replacement.

Odd Sights, Sounds and Smells

Most homeowners don’t give their furnaces the time of day, but you can tell a lot about their condition just by standing near them. Check if it has any corroding or cracked parts or makes unusual noises. Screeching and squealing could mean its blower needs an adjustment.

Meanwhile, banging or grinding could indicate the need for an entire furnace replacement. Keep your nose high alert, too. Contact an HVAC professional if you notice a lingering musty smell when you turn on the furnace.

Improper Cycling

While it’s in operation, your furnace cycles on and off to achieve the ideal temperature in your home. If the temperature goes below the target temperature, it turns on to bring it back up. It will then turn off once it achieves the set temperature on the thermostat.

If your furnace is running continuously or continuously cycling on and off, it could be on its way out. If you notice these behaviors, let an HVAC specialist look at your furnace for a proper diagnosis.

Uneven Heating

Your furnace distributes heated air equally throughout your home. If one area is nice and warm but another is freezing, that’s a sign your furnace might be on its last leg.

Of course, other issues could be causing the uneven heating, like restricted airflow between the vents and the furnace. It is also possible the ductwork was improperly installed or a leak developed. An HVAC professional can determine the cause and provide a solution.

Frequent Repairs

If your furnace needs more and more repairs, you might be better off investing in a new unit than wasting your money on your old one. Older units usually develop more issues when they’re down to the last two years of their lives. If your repair bills have exceeded half the price of a new furnace, it’s time to let your old one go.

If your furnace shows any of these signs, contact the pros to help. HVAC specialists will assess your unit and recommend a plan of action. If a replacement is necessary, they will install the new unit and ensure it’s working efficiently. They can even help with other issues, like if the furnace is not kicking on when the temperature drops.

a home's living room

Should I Replace a 20-Year-Old Furnace?

Having a 20-year-old furnace is quite impressive, especially if it seems to be working fine. You’re probably wondering if it’s necessary to replace it if there are no issues.

While your furnace might be one tough cookie, it typically only has 15 to 20 years to function properly. That means your 20-year-old unit is near the end of its life. Waiting until it dies to replace it is risky because it could go out when it’s cold outside.

Many homeowners don’t realize that regularly maintaining their furnaces can extend their unit’s life. In addition, an HVAC specialist can give you useful advice on whether your furnace is on its last leg.

If the time comes to consider replacing your furnace, here are some benefits of a new unit.


Even if your old furnace works, it doesn’t mean it’s functioning well. The unit’s heat exchanger heats and cools with every furnace cycle. However, this metal component can only turn hot and cold for a limited amount before it cracks.

A cracked heat exchanger is a risk that could produce dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide. While a professional repair could fix this issue, the cost isn’t worth it if you have an older furnace. Replacing it with a new unit is the better call.


Most families end up staying home more in the winter months. You want that time to be as cozy and comfortable as possible. That won’t be your experience if you have an old furnace that’s ready to throw in the towel.

A 20-year-old furnace won’t be as efficient as it was in its prime years. It might not be able to distribute heated air evenly throughout your home, leaving some areas cold. Or worse, it might not be able to achieve your desired temperature at all. A new unit will keep you warm and toasty at all times.

Cost Savings

You might think you’re saving money by holding off on a new furnace until your old one dies. But that’s a costly mistake. Even if your 20-year-old furnace seems fine on the outside, its internal components are likely worn out and unable to function efficiently. They need more energy to heat and distribute air. Higher energy consumption means higher electricity bills.

a home's living room

Will a New Furnace Heat My House Better?

If you’ve had your furnace for a decade or two, it’s an ideal time to consider a replacement. A new furnace is usually worth the investment.

Not only will it heat your home better, but there are other perks to enjoy. It will distribute heated air evenly throughout your rooms, leaving no cold spots. It will also perform at peak efficiency, consuming less energy and saving money. You’ll also be less stressed because you don’t have to worry about constant breakdowns and repairs.

If you’re unsure which furnace to get, let HVAC professionals help. They will recommend a suitable heating system for your home, install it and ensure it’s working efficiently. They can also perform regular maintenance to ensure all internal components are in good shape. If you run into any issues with your new furnace, an HVAC specialist can troubleshoot and perform the necessary repairs or replacements.

Let the Pros Help You With Your Furnace Issues

You don’t have to go through the winter feeling cold in your home. If you’re experiencing furnace troubles, don’t hesitate to contact HVAC professionals. They have the tools and expertise to get your furnace working smoothly again. They can also replace the furnace with a new unit if necessary. Your home will soon be pleasantly warm and cozy. HVAC pros can help with other furnace issues, like if the furnace keeps tricking the breaker.

ABC Can Solve Your Heating And Cooling Woes

Furnaces are complex systems, and trying to work on them without special training and tools can create larger problems and can even lead to damage to your home. Instead of taking these risks, contact the professionals at ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our licensed specialists are available all day and all night to handle any HVAC repairs or issue you may be having, such as hearing your furnace making noises.

Tom Riggs

Tom Riggs is the Division Manager for Mechanical Services, overseeing sales and operations for HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Appliance Repair and Water Quality for all ABC Austin branches. He joined ABC in 2014. Before ABC, he was an HVAC Service Technician, HVAC Comfort Advisor/Sales and Operations Manager. Tom attended Universal Technical Institute. He's an avid outdoorsman and enjoys country living with his wife and two sons.

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