When is it time to replace your oil or natural gas furnace?

By installing a new home furnace or heating system you’ll improve your home’s value

FURNACE

 

A good article from Petro Home Services:

As one of the most important investments and pieces of equipment in your home, it pays to keep track of just how efficiently and effectively your warm air oil or natural gas furnace is running. You need to know when to replace it before it costs you more in repairs than a new purchase or if it becomes unsafe. A comfortable and healthy home environment requires an energy-efficient and safe heating system. One that heats the home without using large amounts of energy and that doesn’t endanger the indoor air quality.

How do you know when it’s time to consider getting a new furnace?
If your oil or natural gas furnace is 12 years old or younger, and has been properly maintained, you shouldn’t need to worry about replacing your unit just yet. Instead, you should spend some time and money to improve the energy-efficiency in other areas of your home and ensure that you perform regular, proper maintenance of your furnace to keep it lasting longer.

Is it time for a new furnace?

“Warning Signs” of a failing furnace.
It is important to be aware of some warning signs from your oil or natural gas furnace that indicate it may need replacing. It is especially important not to wait until it’s too late. A cold, snowy winter night with a failing or faltering furnace is not the time to assess your heating system. It pays to be prepared and information is the key to making a wise decision. Below are some “warning signs” that it may be time to consider replacing your furnace. Of course, not all of them may apply to your particular equipment but you may use them as a general rule of thumb to gauge just how much life left you have in your furnace:*

1. How old is your furnace?
A good place to start is to compare your oil or natural gas furnace age to the national average. The average life expectancy of furnaces in homes today is between 16 and 20 years. If your furnace is close to this age or older, you should begin shopping. Shopping for a replacement furnace in an emergency does not allow time for you to make your best decision. Most people prefer to replace their furnace as a planned home improvement rather than a panic replacement when your furnace is faltering or has already failed.The typical lifespan of a warm air furnace will vary based on its operating environment, that’s why it’s important to have the system serviced regularly by a qualified technician. They will be able to properly assess the condition of the furnace and make any recommendations.

2. Are your energy bills going up?
Rising energy costs are not the only reason for high bills. Furnaces often lose their efficiency as they age, especially if they have not been properly maintained. As a result your oil or natural gas furnace may run longer to provide the same amount of heat. This will cause your energy bills to go up. And, all of the money you pay your energy utility companies every month could be used to help you pay for a new, much more energy-efficient and energy saving furnace.

3. Have you had any furnace repairs in the last 2 years?
Furnaces are like cars. As they age, you can replace one part only need another part replaced or repaired next year. It doesn’t take long to spend $500 just to keep an old oil or natural gas furnace running. Furnaces incur the most breakdowns in the last 2 years of their lives. Another repair sign is whether you had to wait to get parts replaced. As a furnace ages, it gets harder to source replacement parts. Waiting that can be really cold on a below zero night.

4. Does your thermostat keep you comfortable?
Do you feel that some rooms are too cold while others are too hot? Or are you always trying to adjust your thermostat to make your home more comfortable? This is a sign that your furnace lacks the ability to properly distribute the air to keep you comfortable in your home.

5. If you have a natural gas furnace, is your burner flame yellow instead of blue?
All heating systems run the risk of carbon monoxide emissions. However, owners of older chimney-vented oil-fired furnaces don’t necessarily face the same safety concerns posed by natural gas and propane, since oil-fired boilers and forced-air furnaces tend to be much less likely to produce carbon monoxide. Because they were built like tanks and require regular annual maintenance and cleaning by a qualified service technician, many of these units hum along safely and reliably for decades. If you do have a natural gas or propane furnace, a yellow or flickering flame may be a sign that poisonous carbon monoxide could be created by your furnace. Other possible signs of carbon monoxide are:

Streaks of soot around furnace
Absence of an upward draft in your chimney
Excess moisture found on windows, walls, or other cold surfaces
Excessive rusting on flue pipes, other pipe connections, or appliance jacks
Small amounts of water leaking from the base of the chimney, vent, or flue pipe
Rust on the portion of the vent pipe visible from the outside
Always be mindful and monitor your furnace for any of the signs noted above and always make sure to have carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home, particularly close to your furnace room.

6. How have you and your family been feeling?
Furnaces as they age run the risk of developing cracks in the heat exchanger inside your furnace. Carbon monoxide, if present, could leak into your home undetected. Signs of this may be frequent headaches, a burning feeling in nose or eyes, nausea, disorientation, flu-like symptoms. Should you experience any of these, air out your house, open a window to the furnace room and immediately call a service technician. Cracks in the heat exchanger can occur undetected which is why no one advises waiting until they occur.

7. Is your furnace making strange noises?
Old furnaces often start to make some strange noises as they get toward the end of their life. Have you heard any banging, popping, rattling, or squealing noises coming from your furnace? Another noise is when you hear the furnace blower running excessively. Does your blower turn on and off frequently or does it blow cold air sometimes? If so, this is a sign that your furnace may need to be replaced.

8. Is your house dry or dusty?
Old furnaces often lack the ability to moisturize and clean the air in your home. Your house air may feel stuffy or stale. Does anyone in your family suffer from allergies to airborne dust, mold, pollen, viruses or dander? Or does anyone suffer from dry nose, dry throat, or dry skin? Other signs may be frequent dust accumulation, static shocks, drooping plants, furniture cracking and musical instruments that do not stay in tune. These may seem like trivial and somewhat silly observations but all suggest that your old furnace is not capable of providing you with the comfort you and your family may want and need. Poor indoor air quality may also not be associated with on old furnace, poor ventilation and other reasons can cause it, too. Please contact us to have one of our service technicians assess your situation as we may have other air quality services and solutions for you.

If any of these “warning signs” apply to you, it might be time to consider the purchase of a new furnace.

Think you need a few furnace? Don’t despair. It may end up helping you save!
It’s a fact that a new furnace for your home is one of the more substantial costs involved in home ownership. But, it should also be seen as a long-term investment. All of the latest furnaces are much more energy-efficient than those installed even 20 years ago. So, while it may seem like a short-term larger expense, a new, more energy-efficient home heating system will more than likely save you money in the longer-term by lowering your annual energy costs.

NANCY BUDD  (203) 984-8922
REALTOR ~ EXCEPTIONAL HOME SPECIALIST
WILLIAM RAVEIS REAL ESTATE

Want to buy a lighthouse?

Would you be interested in buying a house with panoramic views of Long Island Sound, moderately priced, solidly built, in a private location and, oh, for sale by the owner?

Well, the federal government is listing the Peck Ledge Lighthouse in Norwalk and Stratford Shoal Lighthouse for sale, according to a press release by the United States General Services Administration.

“Lighthouses are an important part of our maritime history in New England and throughout the nation. GSA is looking for passionate and capable new owners to help us ensure that these architectural treasures will be preserved without burdening taxpayers,” said Robert Zarnetske, GSA regional administrator for New England.

And don’t worry about someone else snapping them up. The Penfield Reef Lighthouse in Fairfield has been for sale off and on since 2007.

It might sound romantic to live in a lighthouse, but making one liveable is going to be an expensive proposition. And then there’s the issue of getting there. A driveway is obviously not an option.

Peck Ledge Light, established in 1906, stands at the northeast end of the Norwalk Islands about 1.5 nautical miles from the coast of Connecticut, according to the official listing on the U.S. General Services Administration website. There is no dock. It stands in seven feet of water and is accessible only by boat.

And the Stratford Shoal Light is so far from the shore that there has been debate on whether it belongs to New York or Connecticut.

Connecticut is home to 20 historic lighthouses, most built between 1800 and 1920. Some, like New Haven’s Five Mile Point Lighthouse, are owned by municipalities. Two are in private hands, including the Stamford Harbor Ledge Light.

The GSA will first seek an interested party — buyer isn’t the right word since the property would be conveyed for as little as $1 — at public agencies or nonprofits.

Although it’s a challenging task, people have bought lighthouses and turned them into seasonal homes, said Jeff Gales, executive director of the U.S. Lighthouse Society. “There are probably 10 or 15 a year that are deemed excess by the Coast Guard and sold through the GSA process,” Gales said. “But the Lighthouse Preservation Act requires that they first be offered to an entity that will maintain public access.”

The lighthouse at Stratford Shoal, in the middle of Long Island Sound off of the coast of Stratford. It is also callled Middle Ground Light.