When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?
There is a lot to worry about when it comes to running your home.
- Should I get a security system?
- What types of bulbs meet my lighting needs but are still energy efficient?
- Should I install carpet or hardwood?
As if that’s not enough, add one more thing to the list: When should I replace my heating system?
Your heater shouldn’t require constant 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 heater that is wasting energy and money with every utility bill.
But how do I know if it’s time to replace my heater?
The following warning signs can help you determine if you just need a quick tune-up or if it’s time to replace your current heater.
1. Frequent Repair Costs
It is common for a heater to eventually need a part replacement 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 signs that your system may be in need of replacing are below:
- Calling the service technician repeatedly for the same issue;
- Needing multiple visits during the same heating season;
- Constantly writing checks simply to keep your house comfortably warm.
A general rule to remember: if annual repair costs reach 50% of the present value of the heater, then it’s likely time to replace your furnace.
2. Energy Efficiency
Are your heating are a little higher than you remember them being? That may be a sign that some part of your HVAC system is weakening. Most companies can provide a residential energy audit which can point to easily remedied inefficiencies like weather-stripping around your doors and windows or attic insulation. It may also be the first step in determining if your heating unit is giving up. Older heating units can be very inefficient, while newer technologies are much more efficient at heating your home. Also, upgrading to a high-efficiency system could mean tax credits or utility rebates and incentives to help you recoup the cost of the new system.
3. Old Age
Heating units were never designed to last forever. Newer, more efficient technology is coming out all the time. But how long should your heating system last? The magic number for a furnace or boiler is 15 years. But keep in mind many old furnaces operate at an efficiency of just 65% 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 bank account.
4. Excessive Noise
If you are having to raise your voice to talk because your unit is so loud, that could be a sign that your duct system is undersized and too much air is being pushed through too small an opening.
Other noises like squealing, rattling, clanking, or banging could be signs of a mechanical problem. It could be as simple as a worn belt, but it may mean an internal component of your unit has loosened or come completely disconnected.
Today’s latest systems operate more quietly than ever. Often you’ll have to really pay attention to even know when they’re running. If noise pollution is an issue for you, that may be reason enough to upgrade to more modern equipment.
5. Temperature and Comfort Issues
If you are having to constantly turn up the furnace 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 fixed with a new thermostat that allows you more control – so before you assume that you’re in for a whole new heating system, 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 bumping up the thermostat. Common complaints when the humidity is too low are dry air, sore throats, and chapped skin. Low humidity can even negatively impact wood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating systems help to keep this important balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the HVAC 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 system. If you are experiencing issues with household odors, airborne allergens, such as pollen and pet dander, bacteria, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting an expert heating system contractor can start you on the road toward resolving them.
So you do all your homework and decide you do need a new furnace, or you want to upgrade your furnace to green technology, replace your home’s ductwork, or do a total overhaul of the entire system, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.