A man smiling in front of a furnace.

What to Watch For in an Aging Heating System

Your furnace or heat pump isn’t getting any younger. But how can you tell it’s getting too old to do the job?

How Long Will My Heating System Last?

The average heating system lives 12-14 years. If you keep up with seasonal maintenance (once in the heating season, once in the cooling season), your HVAC unit will live longer and run better.

Did you know you should be changing your air filters every 30-60 days? Air filters aren’t just there to keep the air clean for YOU—they keep the air clean for your heating and cooling system! This keeps it in better shape to help protect against damage (and some funky smells that can develop).

Signs Your Heating System Needs Help

If your old heating system is in trouble, it’ll start to let you know! There are a few things to be on the lookout for, and if you’re ever unsure, give us a call. It’s better to play it safe and have a professional give your furnace or heat pump a close check to make sure everything looks good.

Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Has Gone Off

If your carbon monoxide detector is going off, get out and call 911 first!

You can’t smell, see, or taste carbon monoxide, but it’s deadly. At first, a carbon monoxide leak can cause headaches, dizziness, and weakness. As levels get worse in your home, it can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, and fatigue. Eventually, it can be fatal. If you have pets in your home, they’ll feel the effects even faster than you will. That’s why it’s SO important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home—and make sure it isn’t expired! Every second counts when it comes to protecting your family from this deadly gas.

Carbon monoxide comes from a broken heat exchanger. It doesn’t take a giant crack for this gas to sneak out, either. There aren’t usually signs of a cracked heat exchanger until it’s already a deadly problem. That’s why heat safety checks are always a good idea before you turn your furnace on. When you schedule, one of our safety pros will come out to your home and make sure everything is safe. We recommend having us out BEFORE you even turn your heat on!

There Are Smells Coming from Your Heating System

A stinky furnace doesn’t care how much you clean the rest of your house. If you smell rotten eggs, burning rubber or plastic, smoke, mold, chemicals, or burning dust, it could mean your heating system is begging for help! Each of these smells can signal something different with your furnace. To learn more about what the different smells could mean, check out our blog post.

Your Furnace is Short Cycling

The term “short cycling” refers to when your furnace is turning off and on more often than it should. This problem can lead to inconsistent heating in your home. This also wears down your heating unit faster. Short cycling is a sign your furnace is struggling to do its job, and it’s time to call someone out to see what’s up!

Let Us Check Your Furnace’s Safety Features

Morris-Jenkins Service Technician Darryl

Your furnace is a controlled fire burning in your home.

We don’t say that to scare you. In fact, your furnace has a lot of really cool safety features in place to keep that fire plenty safe.

Just like any machine though, parts can wear down and go bad over time. That’s why it’s so important to get them checked out every year. During a Heat Safety Check, your Morris-Jenkins safety expert will take a look at:

The Flame Rollout Sensor

The fire in your furnace is meant to be contained in a fire box. The Flame Rollout Sensor is what detects when the flame goes beyond where it’s supposed to be. If it does, this sensor lets the furnace know to shut down to stop the fire. If this sensor goes bad, the flame could catch the floor joists, walls, or attic trusses on fire.

The Flame Proving Sensor

Your furnace might have a Flame Proving Sensor, which tells the furnace where there’s a flame in the fire box. If it notices a flame, it’ll keep the gas valve open to feed the fire. When it doesn’t detect a flame anymore, it’ll shut off the gas valve. If this safety sensor goes bad, your furnace could keep letting raw gas into the combustion chamber without a flame using it up. That much gas sitting around could cause a huge explosion if there’s so much as a small spark!

The High Temperature Limit Control

Your furnace has to get really hot in order to heat your home, but there’s a limit to how hot it should get. That’s where the High Temperature Limit Control comes into play! If your heating system gets too hot, this safety feature will shut things down. If there’s a malfunction, it could burn out your heating system.

The Flue Exhaust Pressure Sensor

When your furnace creates fire to heat your home, that smoke has to go somewhere. That’s what the flue is for! The Flue Exhaust Pressure Sensor makes sure there’s nothing blocking the flue so the smoke can safely escape your home. If this part is broken, your furnace won’t be able to turn on.

The Fan Limit Sensor

Your furnace has a fan (called a blower) that blows air over your heat exchanger. If for some reason the blower stops working (or isn’t blowing enough air), the Fan Limit Sensor will shut off your furnace. Without this, the heat exchanger could overheat and crack, leading to deadly carbon monoxide leaks in your home.

Learn more about your furnace’s safety features here.

Why Heat Safety Checks Are Important

All too often, we hear news reports about carbon monoxide leaks and house fires that could have been prevented. We want everyone to know just how important it is to get your heating system checked out by a professional every year! This simple home maintenance step can make a huge difference in keeping your family safe and warm every winter.

When you call Morris-Jenkins out for a Heat Safety Check, we’ll check your heating system’s safety sensors, heat exchanger, and more to make sure everything is in good shape for your family. We take our time to do things the right way because that’s what we’d want for our own families. Call or text us and we’ll make sure your furnace or heat pump is safe!

If you’re already having problems with your heating system, we can come out and see if there’s a way to get a few more years out of your old unit. If the safer option is to replace your old one, we can help with that, too. Our goal is to make sure your family stays safe and warm this winter!

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