The furnace in your Salem or Keizer, OR, home will last for many years – but nothing lasts forever, and home furnaces take a lot of punishment. The combination of high heat, pressure, and numerous mechanical systems means that it will start failing over time, and eventually, the costs of furnace repair services will become too high.
So, is it time to look at replacing your furnace? Or can you keep ordering repairs for another year or two? Here are some factors to consider.
Three Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Furnace
1. The furnace is too old
Generally speaking, a furnace will run best for the first decade of service and then go downhill. It won’t fail immediately, of course, but most furnaces will only last around 15-20 years, even if they’re well-maintained.
So if your furnace is 15+ years old, you can assume it doesn’t have many more years left. That’s the point that replacement starts making more sense than repairs.
2. Repair costs are rising
How often are you calling for furnace repair services in the Salem-Keizer area? Even if your furnace is pretty old, there’s probably no reason to replace it if it’s not giving you trouble. On the other hand, if you find yourself calling for repairs every year – or more often – those repair costs are going into a money pit. It’s probably not worth continual repairs if you can afford a replacement.
3. You want better energy efficiency
Beyond maintenance factors with the furnace, there’s another issue here: energy efficiency. 2020s furnaces are far more energy-efficient than models from twenty years ago. Installing a new furnace is virtually guaranteed to reduce your energy bills at least somewhat, and the amount you save will largely depend on what kind of replacement you choose.
You might even want to consider a home heat pump, which replaces both your A/C and furnace with a single all-in-one unit. A heat pump has a smaller footprint, freeing up floor space and offeringthe best energy efficiency in the HVAC market.
Since 1966, Melton’s has been a leader in furnace repair services and sales in Salem, Keizer, OR, and across the Willamette Valley. If your current furnace is old and giving you problems, or you just want to upgrade to the latest and greatest in-home HVAC appliances, contact us to discuss your options!
When you turn on the furnace in your Salem or Keizer, OR, home, you expect to get a rush of soothing warm air quickly and nothing else. However, furnaces are highly complicated pieces of machinery, and there’s a lot that can go wrong. One of the most common issues is to smell something burning, either through the vents or off the heater.
In general, if you smell something burning in your furnace, that problem will require heater repair from qualified professionals. However, that’s not always the case. So, we wanted to investigate why you can get burning smells from a furnace and the various things that can cause this.
Why Your Furnace Smells Like Something Is Burning
1. It’s the first time firing up your furnace this year
Let’s start with the best-case scenario. If it’s your first time firing up the furnace, there’s a very good chance you’ll get musty or burning smells for a little while afterward. This is normal because the furnace has accumulated dust and grime during the months it’s been sitting unused. These get burned off as it heats up until everything combustible is gone.
As long as the smell goes away within an hour or so, there’s nothing to worry about. This could have been prevented by having a furnace check-up before firing it up, which is a good idea but not an absolute necessity.
2. It’s not your furnace; it’s your ducts
Regarding non-problems, what if you keep smelling the burning, but everything seems fine around your furnace? If that’s the case, the issue could easily be in your ducts. Ductwork also attracts dust, grime, oil, and other unpleasant substances. If these have built up during the hot months, they can then start burning or smoldering when the furnace heats the ductwork.
In this case, the solution is simple: professional duct cleaning. Having your ducts cleaned every five years (at minimum) or so is a good idea. This won’t merely prevent odd smells when you run the heater; it’ll also improve indoor air quality by clearing out the contaminants in your ducts.
In particular, dust forming around the exit vents in your ducts is a big sign they need to be cleaned. Ask about our duct cleaning service.
3. The air filter is clogged
When is the last time you cleaned the air filter in your furnace? It’s easy to forget about it, especially during the off-season. However, if the filter is clogged, that will cause many issues – potentially including odd smells. Basically, the furnace heats dust and other materials trapped in the filter, which smolders and sends the smell through your house.
So, check your air filter, which should be easy to access. Then either clean it off, if it’s not too dirty, or replace it. Replacements are cheap and readily available at any home improvement store and even most “big box” style stores.
4. Electrical problems
Now we’re getting into the more serious issues. If you know the problem isn’t in the ducts or the air filter, there’s the possibility of electrical issues. For example, mice or other critters might have gotten into the heater and started gnawing on the wires, causing sparks or shorts.
If it’s an electrical issue, you may be able to hear the sparking or smell ozone coming from the heater. Your house could also have brownouts or other more significant electrical problems in more severe cases.
If you suspect an electrical problem, do not attempt to fix it yourself. There’s a lot of current running through the furnace, and it’s genuinely dangerous for amateurs to work on. Shut down the furnace at the breaker box, if needed, and call for professional heater repairs in Salem immediately.
5. Mechanical problems
A heater has many moving parts, which should be properly lubricated and moving with minimum friction. However, if the lubrication has run out or parts have shifted, they can start rubbing against each other – producing heat and burning rubber or metal smells.
In this case, you’ll usually hear unusual sounds from inside the furnace, such as clanging, banging, or grinding. If your furnace ever gets noisy well beyond what it typically sounds like, that’s almost always a mechanical issue that needs professional care.
Don’t ignore the problem – it will almost certainly only get worse over time, and that means more expensive heater repairs when you do call for help.
6. Issues with portable heaters
If you’re using portable space heaters, most of the advice above applies. If you smell burning, the most likely causes are either contamination within the heater, electrical issues, or mechanical failure. These are often easier to detect with portable heaters since it’s smaller and the scents will be more concentrated.
However, also make sure to check the power source. Is the burning smell coming from the heater or the wall socket plugged into it? The power plug or power brick could also be the problem and will likely need to be replaced if so.
Melton’s Is Here to Keep Your Furnace Running Smoothly
Since 1966, we’ve been the go-to source for furnace repairs and heat pump repairs across the Willamette Valley. We’re proudly family-owned, with a team of experts who’ve been with the company for years. No matter how new or old your furnace is, we have the tools and skills to keep it running properly!
If you think you smell something burning around your furnace or heater, don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Contact Melton’s for great furnace repair in Salem or Keizer, OR, area.