You may feel some loyalty to that quirky old furnace, but how faithful is it to you? When the snow begins to fall and the cold winds squeeze under the front door, you don’t want your furnace to fail. Maybe it’s time to part ways with that old friend.

“You’re not getting any younger.”

How old is your furnace? It’s easy to lose track of the age of your system. Experts say furnaces operate effectively on average 16 to 20 years; newer models can serve you well for 20 years. If your furnace is 15 years old, you should consider purchasing a replacement.

“Work with me.”

By replacing that old furnace with a new high-efficiency model, the Department of Energy says you can increase the efficiency of your system from 56% to 70% up to 98.5% efficiency. These upgrades, says the Department, can potentially cut pollution output from your system as well as your heating bills in half.

“You make me sick.”

Sure, your old furnace seems to be keeping your home warm and cozy, but what else is it doing? Poorly functioning furnaces can emit greater levels of carbon monoxide. Exposure to smaller amounts of this odorless, colorless gas can prompt nausea and headaches; breathing high levels of carbon monoxide is lethal. Another potential hazard is a gas line leak, a serious threat to your family and destructive to your home.

“You don’t look very good.”

Is your furnace showing its age? For example, do you see rust around or on your unit? Are any of the parts cracked or corroded? Is the furnace making those sounds of age – creaks, groans, or rattles? These are signs your furnace’s better years are behind it.

“You’re high maintenance.”

Do you notice your furnace turning on and off more frequently? Are you discovering humidity problems in your house? Is your unit emitting a large amount of dust, soot, or rust particles? You expect some routine maintenance costs, but if your furnace frequently needs repairs, it’s likely time to look for a new, energy-efficient model.

Yes, your furnace has served you well for many years, but it may be time to part ways before your unit leaves you in the cold.