So often I hear people say that they had a furnace for 20 years and never had a problem. How come these new furnace need so much maintenance and have more problems than the old furnaces?
It is true that the furnaces of today do require more maintenance but they are also more efficient and safer than the furnaces of the past. The older furnaces were only about 55% to 60% efficient and had only 2 safeties on them, a limit control and a thermocouple. Both of these safeties were temperature activated and took a while to react to unsafe conditions. Today’s furnaces are much safer than those in the past. Furnaces today have as many as 8 safeties on them and they react to unsafe conditions very quickly. There are anywhere from one to three limit controls, three roll-out switches, one or two pressure switches, and a flame sensor. A logic panel or “brain” in the furnace monitors all of these safeties. Safeties, like the flame sensor, can become dirty or corroded, which can cause nuisance lockouts on today’s furnaces. Since all these safeties are “electronic”, they have electrical connections that can become corroded causing problems with operation.
All manufacturers today recommend yearly maintenance on furnaces to keep them operating safely and to prevent nuisance problems with their equipment.
Yes, it is sad to see old reliable go its way, but today’s technology assures us that these products are going to help conserve energy for future generations and provide us with the utmost safety in the process.
Remember, also, that this new furnace can be just as reliable as your father’s furnace if you take care of it and have it maintained yearly. Then you can have the best of both situations – high efficiency, safety, and reliability!