Before the weather turns really cold, this is a great time to perform a check of your furnace to make sure everything is in good shape. However, if you notice any of the following warning signs, you may need a furnace replacement if repair measures do not work.


Scale: These are flakes of rust that are a by-product of burning gas. Scale could fall on the burners and reduce the flow of gas, and over time it can cause significant damage by causing moisture, which ultimately can lead to a substantial amount of rust. Have an Approved Comfort technician remove the burners and clean them. In addition, you can clean out rust flakes that fall to the bottom of the furnace housing.


Grinding or chattering sounds, a huffing and puffing burner, consistent banging, or clunking and bumping: These sounds can result from electrical problems, delayed ignition, or a cracked belt. Basically, if you hear something unusual, theres a good chance you have a serious problem.


A yellow flame: Your furnaces flame should be clean and stable, sharp and blue, and burning in as pure a manner as possible. If the flame is yellow, that is an indication that dirt is in the burner and it is not doing a proper job of mixing air and gas. Have a technician test the system and clean it thoroughly. If the problem persists afterward, then you may need a furnace replacement.


A dusty smell: This might not necessarily indicate that a furnace replacement is needed, but if you turn up the thermostat and your home is filled with a dry, dusty smell within minutes, its probably just burning the dust out of the combustion chamber. Change your filter. If the odor is constant, call an Approved Comfort technician. However, if you notice a gas odor, call your utility company immediately.


Negative pressure/back-drafting: This takes place when oxygen is taken out of the air faster than it can enter the house. Back-drafting naturally occurs when negative pressure occurs, because air is rushing into the house through its chimney and choking off the natural process of venting. Again, this does not necessarily mean you have to immediately replace your furnace, but still needs to be addressed by running a combustible air duct from the outside to your unit.



Household appliances, like anything else, are not meant to last forever and a furnace is not something you want to wait to replace. It had a good, long life, but now it’s time to say goodbye to your trusty, faithful furnace that has met its end. And say hello to your new high-efficiency furnace that is going to keep you warm and comfortable this winter season.

Being without a working furnace is not an option, but paying less money for one is. If you install a new Nicor Gas high-efficiency furnace between October 2013 and May 31, 2014, you’ll receive one of these rebates:

  • Installing one with 97% or higher Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) receives a $400 rebate
  • 95% AFUE receives $300 rebate
  • 92% or lower AFUE receives $200 rebate

All rebate applications must be postmarked or submitted online within 90 days of installation, or by June 30, 2014.