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Is It Time to Replace My Furnace? What all Portland-area homeowners should know

As a Pacific Northwestern homeowner, your furnace is one of your most important appliances. Whether your furnace is electric, forced air, natural gas, or another style altogether, its role in the home is a simple but vital one: to provide heat and comfort throughout your home. 

Despite a furnace’s relative size and importance, it’s not an appliance the typical layperson spends too much time thinking about. It’s not something that requires daily attention, and when it’s working, you and your loved ones are comfortable and there’s no need to focus on it. 

But when your furnace is not working, when your energy bills are inexplicably skyrocketing, your home is cold and your family is feeling physical and financial discomfort, well, that means it’s time to evaluate your furnace’s viability. 

Did you know that the average gas furnace operates at only 80% efficiency, whereas modern high-efficiency furnaces operate at an average of 98%! That could have a profound effect on your family’s energy bills, comfort, and environmental impact. So what should you do?

Here are just a few factors we at Greenbox Mechanical recommend you consider as you evaluate your current furnace’s performance and efficiency.

How old is your furnace?

The average lifespan of most furnaces is about 15 to 20 years, assuming that it has been serviced and maintained properly over the years.  (Regularly replacing or cleaning the filters, for instance, can have a positive impact on performance and lifespan.) 

Unless you’re the original owner of your home, or you’ve already replaced your home’s furnace in the past, you’ll likely need to look up its age. This can typically be found in association with the furnace’s serial number and in many models is located on the inside of the service panel door. (Note: We ALWAYS recommend turning your furnace off before doing this kind of work.) 

If your furnace has been professionally serviced in the past, there is also likely a decal describing the service date that should clarify the age of your appliance. We strongly recommend an annual furnace maintenance to keep your furnace’s components in great working order.

Is your furnace making strange noises or heating unevenly?

Another tell-tale sign that it’s time for either repair or investment in a new furnace is its ability to heat your home in the way that it should. This seems obvious, but most families tend to congregate in specific spaces of the home, making the detection of an inefficient furnace sometimes difficult to detect. If you suspect that your home is being heated unevenly, then repair or replacement might be necessary. Relatedly, if your furnace is suddenly making strange sounds — knocking, rattling, or droning — then professional review is warranted. If you find yourself contacting professionals frequently for furnace consultations and repair, then this just reinforces the need for an upgrade.

Is there a sudden spike in your energy bills?

As a homeowner, you certainly know that the extreme weather months of the year can also be extreme in terms of your heating or A/C-related energy bills, and most utility agencies provide you the opportunity — either via your account on their website or physical documentation of your billing history  — to review your home’s energy use month-by-month and year-by-year.

If you notice that your home’s heating use isn’t following the same energy use patterns or that what used to predictable billing is suddenly wildly different, then you are likely having an issue with your furnace. 

What are my service options for my under-performing furnace?

The team at Greenbox Mechanical has a rich history of serving the greater-Portland area for their home maintenance needs, and that includes the world of HVAC and furnace repair or replacement! 

Our goal is to improve your overall quality of life, and that includes recommending solutions for your home that are energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, and worth the investment. 

We’ll never try to upsell you or identify problems, because you deserve home service repair, honesty, and expertise that you can trust with confidence. 

Contact us today about any questions to have about furnace performance, repair, or replacement — we’d be proud to serve you!