As every Utah homeowner knows, winter can bring unpredictable weather. Whether you are readying your home for the cold, rainy days of late fall or the snowstorms of the winter, it is important to create a home environment that is safe and warm.

If your furnace has been struggling to keep your family comfortable during the winter, it may be time to replace it. Here are six signs that it may be time to replace your furnace.

1. Your Energy Bills Are Going Up

A furnace that is struggling to do its job may cause your energy bills to be unusually high at this time of the year. If your heating costs are suddenly increasing, it could be caused by the furnace taking longer to produce the correct amount of heat. The money you spend on rising energy costs might as well go towards a more efficient heating system.

2. Your Furnace is Over 15 Years Old

Older furnaces were designed to last 10-20 years, with 15 years being about the average age when they start to become inefficient. You can check the age of your furnace by looking in the owner's manual or looking up the system's model number, which is usually located on the furnace. If your furnace is 15 years old or older, you will probably start to notice a drop in efficiency and an increase in repair bills.

3. You’re Spending Money on Repairs

If you are continually having repairs done on the HVAC system, it might be time to replace it. A furnace will often have the most breakdowns in the last two years of its life. Another sign is when the furnace is being repaired, you have to wait for the replacement parts. With older furnaces, it’s harder to find replacement parts, and these parts are usually more expensive.

4. You’re Hearing Unusual Noises

As a furnace gets closer to the end of its life, it will often make a lot of strange noises. If you hear banging, rattling, popping or squealing noises coming from the furnace, there may be cracks, leaks or other structural issues. In which case, it's time to replace it.

You should also pay close attention to the blower. If you hear it blowing continuously or if it frequently turns on and off, you should consider getting a new furnace.

5. Some Rooms Are Too Cold

Aging furnaces have trouble properly distributing heat. If you notice some rooms in your home are too cold while others are too hot, that usually means the furnace is struggling to push the heat evenly throughout the house.

6. Your House Is Stuffy and Dusty

An old furnace often lacks the ability to clean and moisturize the air in your home, which results in the air feeling stale, dusty or stuffy. If you or members of your family are suffering from a dry throat, dusting more than usual, experiencing a lot of static electricity or noticing cracks in the furniture, then your furnace may not be working like it should.

If your furnace is showing signs of age or inefficiency, it's important to talk with an HVAC contractor to discuss your replacement options. Not only is it critical that you have a working furnace throughout the winter, but it's an important factor in keeping your family safe. There are many furnace problems that can lead to health issues from dust, dander and carbon monoxide.

If you have noticed any of these warning signs, contact the professionals at Hartman Heating, Air and Fireplaces today and let us help you find the perfect, energy-efficient furnace for your home.