Monroe Heating & Air

Hidden Dangers of an Old Furnace

Most homeowners love saving money. There’s no doubt about that. And because most people know how good heating equipment is made to last, the temptation to continue using an older, outdated system might seem like a good idea on the surface, even though it’s dangerous and likely to cost more in the long run.

Of the many serious risks involved with using old HVAC equipment, many of them are compounded when a heating unit hasn’t been maintained properly over time.

To help you understand some of the more serious risks and the warning signs to keep an eye out for, our technicians at Monroe Heating & Air put together the following:

Top 3 Dangers of Old Heating Equipment

Fire Hazards

Furnaces are designed to use combustion to produce heat in a safe way. And while most models have some sort of fail-safe to prevent fires, after time a lot of these can deteriorate, becoming faulty and ineffective. Moreover, estimates on how long a heating system will last are always based on averages and only provide a ballpark figure. They don’t take into account how older systems tend to lack a lot of the safety mechanisms found in newer, safer, more efficient furnaces that aren’t outdated. Keep in mind that these mechanisms are there for a reason, as they ensure safety. Because heating sources are a leading cause of house fires in the U.S., systems continue to improve in safety and performance as technology advances.

Carbon Monoxide 

Although all furnaces are supposed to have fail-safe features to prevent carbon monoxide from forming and leaking, over time the sensors on these mechanisms deteriorate, break down, and become unreliable putting everyone in the home at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Moreover, older heating systems lose efficiency with time and this can cause smaller levels of carbon monoxide to be released from incomplete combustion. Because these lower levels may not trip your furnace’s fail-safe sensors right away, health problems can arise over time as a result.

Gas Leaks

If your furnace burns natural gas for heat, keep in mind natural gas leakage can cause a wide range of health issues. When a furnace is outdated, it is more susceptible to this, as opposed to a newer model that’s far safer and far more efficient. On a long enough timeline, corrosion is inevitable and smaller leaks become more and more prevalent in equipment as it gets older. Although most furnaces have sensors and detectors that warn you about this kind of thing, as we alluded to above, you shouldn’t solely rely on them, as they are prone to failure. Oil furnaces are no exception either, as they are prone to leakage that cause damage to the home and create fire hazards. As such, having preventative maintenance performed regularly makes these risks far less of a threat.

Common Warning Signs

As we have learned, the hidden dangers of old furnaces are serious. Knowing this, it’s crucial we keep an eye out for some of the signs our heating systems are headed for trouble. Furthermore, whenever a homeowner assesses heating equipment for future use they should always put safety first. A few of the more common warning signs we are alluding to include:

  • Yellow or Flickering Flame: The burner flame and pilot light on your furnace should always be blue and it should never flicker. If the flame is flickering, or if it’s yellow, you should give us a call right away, as there could be carbon monoxide or gas leaking.
  • Increasing Energy Consumption: If your heating costs are rising or if they seem higher than usual, your furnace might need to be repaired or replaced. Regardless, moving forward it’s good to monitor your energy bills as this could be a sign of something amiss.
  • Flu-Like Symptoms: Because carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless, it can be difficult for humans to know when there is a leak. As such, if you or your loved ones are experiencing flu-like symptoms, it could be a carbon monoxide leak.

What can I do to prevent furnace problems?

Understanding the hidden dangers of an old furnace, a homeowner might ask themself: What can I do to avoid these kinds of problems during the winter?

The answer is simple, and should not need an explanation. Nevertheless, the best way to avoid the hidden dangers of an old heating system is to have preventative maintenance performed on the furnace regularly. Maintenance not only helps us detect these kinds of problems, but it also helps us prevent them in the first place — all the while saving you hard-earned money on energy costs and prolonging the lifespan of your heating equipment.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Monroe Heating & Air today at (513) 540-4890, or schedule an appointment now by clicking here!