Is your furnace not heating correctly or shutting down unexpectedly? While both older and newer models can develop quirks, the issues tend to differ.
Understanding the most likely and common problems based on your furnace’s age can better equip homeowners to talk to our techs when they arrive. Of course, newer furnaces are consistently less likely to have problems than older ones!
Old vs. New Furnace – Understanding AFUE
The most relevant number when talking about your furnace’s age and efficiency is AFUE. What is AFUE? It stands for “annual fuel utilization efficiency.”
This percentage represents how much fuel is converted into usable heat over a typical year. Standard efficiencies range from 80-83%, while modern high-efficiency furnaces reach upwards of 98% AFUE.
The higher the percentage, the more heat you obtain per amount of fuel burned. Upgrading from an 80% unit to a 95% furnace could mean cutting your gas usage almost in half!
Of course, with greater efficiency comes more complex components, and while there’s less risk of a problem, the problems are different. So, let’s get to the part of the article you were looking forward to! What other issues do old and new furnaces tend to have?
Old Furnace Problems
Let’s start with aging, low-efficiency gas furnaces (60-80% AFUE range). Some weak points known to crop up over their lifespan include:
- Rusting Heat Exchangers – Lower exhaust temps coupled with moisture create corrosion.
- Failing Blower Motors – Standard single-speed motors wear down over decades of use.
- Failing Pilot Lights – Older furnaces often use a standing pilot light to ignite the burner. These can go out frequently and need to be manually re-lit. Over time, the pilot assembly components wear out.
- Outdated Wiring – After many years, the wiring connecting components inside the furnace can become brittle or degraded. This can lead to electrical shorts or connections failing.
While seemingly straightforward fixes, remember that hazards exist when handling fuel, exhaust, and electricity yourself. A professional should inspect age-related issues.
New Furnace Problems
On the other end, newer high-efficiency furnaces (90-98% AFUE) have different complexities thanks to technological advances:
- Faulty Pressure Switches – More switches monitor additional conditions.
- Failed Igniters and Sensors – More electronics mean more potential faults.
- Communication Problems – Variable-speed controls can misconnect.
Though modern furnaces squeeze out maximum savings, mini-computerized and electrical components can also have problems.
Reach Out to the Pros for Furnace Repair and Service
Whatever efficiency furnace you have, Ballard has certified HVAC techs ready to help! Our techs have extensive training to pinpoint problems in both old and new systems. We serve San Bernardino, Highland, Redlands, and the Inland Empire with expert heating and furnace repair, maintenance, and installation.