When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There are many things to consider when it comes to running your home.

  • Should I get a home alarm system?

  • What types of light bulbs meet my lighting needs but are energy efficient?

  • Should I install carpet or laminate wood?

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

Your heating unit 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 heating system that is wasting energy and money with every utility bill.

But how do I know if it’s time to replace my heating unit?

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 heating unit.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

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

  • calling the service technician multiple times for the same problem;
  • needing numerous 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 50 percent of the present value of the heater, then it’s likely time to replace your furnace.

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your energy are a little higher than they were last year? That may be a sign that some part of your heater 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 going out. Older heating units can be very inefficient, while newer systems are much more efficient at heating your home. Also, upgrading to a high-efficiency product could mean tax credits or utility rebates and incentives to help you recoup the cost of your new system.

3. Old Age

Heating systems were never designed to last forever. Newer, more efficient units are coming out all the time. But how long should your system last? The magic number for a furnace or boiler is 15 years. But keep in mind many old heating units operate at an efficiency of just 65 percent or poorer! 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 have to raise your voice to talk because your unit is abnormally loud, that could be a indicator that your duct system is undersized and too much air is being pushed through too small an opening.

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

Today’s latest products operate more soundlessly than ever. Often you’ll have to really pay attention to even know that they’re running. If noise pollution is a concern 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 heating system 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 heating system, give some attention 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 hiking up the temperature. Common grumbles when the humidity is too low are dry air, sinusitis, and chapped skin. Improper humidity can even negatively impact wood 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 HVAC system.

7. Air Quality Issues

Many 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 or pet dander, mold, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting an expert heating system contractor can start you on the road to fixing them.

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