When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There is so much to consider when it comes to running your home.

  • Should I get a security system?

  • What types of bulbs meet my lighting needs but are going to be energy efficient?

  • Should I install carpet or hardwood?

And if that’s not enough, include one more thing on the list: When should I replace my heater?

Your heater shouldn’t require continuous attention, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted, either. Ignoring your system could result in indoor air that is loaded with dust or allergens (or worse!), or even an inefficient heating unit that is wasting energy and money with every energy bill.

But how should I know if it’s time to replace my heating system?

The following warning signs can help you determine if you just need a quick service or if it’s time to replace your current heating unit.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is normal for a heating system to eventually need a new belt or a little attention once a year to make sure everything is running smoothly, but a well-maintained heater should work without much fixing along the way. A few indications that your system may be in need of replacing are below:

  • calling the service technician multiple times for the same issue;
  • needing several visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly accruing bills just to keep your house comfortably warm.

A general rule to remember: if annual repair costs reach half of the present value of the heating unit, it’s likely time to replace your furnace.

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your energy are a little more than they were last year? That may be a sign that some part of your heating system is weakening. Most companies can deliver a residential energy audit which can point out easily remedied inefficiencies like weather-stripping around your doors and windows or attic insulation. It may also be the first step in deciding if your heating unit is in need of replacing. Older heating units can be very inefficient, while newer technologies are much more efficient at heating your home. Also, upgrading to a high-efficiency unit could mean tax credits or utility rebates and incentives to help you recoup the cost of the new system.

3. Old Age

Heating systems were never designed to last forever. Better, more efficient systems are coming out all the time. But how long should your unit last? The magic number for a furnace or boiler is 15 years. But keep in mind many old heating systems operate at an efficiency of just 65 percent or worse! A replacement that’s been qualified with the Energy Star rating can be up to 30% more efficient, and that’s a difference you’ll notice in your home and your wallet.

4. Excessive Noise

If you have to raise your voice to talk because your heating unit is so loud, that could be a indication that your duct system is undersized and too much air is being pushed through too small an opening.

Other noises like squealing, jolting, clinking, or banging could be signs of a mechanical issue. It could be as easy as a worn belt, but it may mean an internal component of your unit has loosened or come completely disconnected.

Today’s latest products work more soundlessly than ever. Often you’ll have to really give attention to even know if they’re running. If noise pollution is an issue for you, that may be reason enough to upgrade to better equipment.

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly jack up the heater to keep things in the house cozy, that should be a major warning that it’s time to re-evaluate your furnace. There are several factors that could cause this issue - it may be rectified with a new thermostat that allows you more control – so before you assume that you’re in for a whole new heater, give some thought to your thermostat.

6. Humidity Issues

In the winter, low humidity makes the air inside your home feel colder than it is, often tricking you into turning up the temperature. Common issues when the humidity is too low are dry air, sore throats, and chapped skin. Low humidity can even negatively impact wooden floors and furniture. Today’s best heating equipment helps to keep this important balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the heating system.

7. Air Quality Issues

Several issues that don’t directly relate to temperature can be improved significantly with an expertly designed and properly installed HVAC unit. If you are experiencing issues with household odors, airborne allergens, such as pollen and pet dander, bacteria, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting a professional heating system contractor can start you on the road to resolving them.

So you do all your homework and decide you do need a new heating unit, or you want to upgrade your furnace to high-efficiency technology, replace your home’s ductwork, or do a total overhaul of the entire system, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.