Check up on your home now, not in mid-January

Karen KesselAdvice

So far, the grass in Guelph is still green and the snow brushes are bone-dry. Even still, the harsh reality is that winter can hit with the slightest of warnings. When the sharp cold rolls in, we rely on our furnace to keep us comfortable, and the thought of living without it is almost unbearable. To help you out, Keith Langlois of Building Insights provided us with a few key things to look for in your furnace to prevent it breaking down in the worst possible season. By catching these tell-tale signs early, you can take preventative measures to keep warm until the snow has melted.

Symptom: Unusual noises like clunking, grinding and banging coming from the furnace.

Diagnosis: A delayed ignition may be the underlying problem or alternatively, a damaged belt or electrical malfunction.

Symptom: Your furnace looks like it was made in a by-gone era.

Diagnosis: If your furnace has been fitted in the home for 20 years or more, a technician will need to be hired to perform a replacement. Old age would suggest that the interior components of the furnace are no longer reliable, and you can be sure it’s not as energy efficient as a new furnace will be.

Symptom: Yellowish furnace flames.

Diagnosis: Furnace flames should be distinct and blue in colour, so if yours is yellow, this means there is debris build-up. If ignored, this can negatively affect the air quality of your home and aggravate allergy sufferers. Calculate the repair costs and if this price exceeds half the price of the device itself, it is time to switch appliances.

Symptom: Flakes of rust on the furnace burners (often referred to as “scale”) signifies that gas is burning due to extra moisture. Because scale can quickly travel to the furnace housing bottom, a replacement will soon be needed if the burners aren’t taken out and cleaned.

Symptom: The home is humid or dusty.

Diagnosis: If it seems like your furniture always needs a dusting, the furnace may be the culprit. When dust enters the combustion chamber, back-drafting can occur and overall efficiency will plummet. Replacing the furnace may be the ticket for cleaner, fresher indoor air and lower energy bills. If you’re not experiencing any of these symptoms of furnace mortality, good for you. You can prolong the life of your unit by changing your furnace filters frequently and ensuring the motors and bearings are lubricated by a qualified heating technician once a year.

Taking the time to check-up on your home’s key systems will help prolong their life, and in turn, protect the value of your home over time.