When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There is a lot to contemplate when it comes to taking care of your home.

  • Should I get a home alarm system?

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

  • Should I install carpets or tile?

Of course if that’s not enough, add one more thing to the list: When should I replace my heater?

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 energy 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 service or if it’s time to replace your current heater.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is common for a heating unit to eventually need a new belt or a little TLC once a year to make sure everything is running properly, but a well-maintained heating system 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 concern;
  • needing several visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly writing checks just to keep your house comfortably warm.

A general rule to remember: if annual repair costs reach 50% of the present value of the heater, it’s most likely time to replace your furnace.

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your utility bills are a little more expensive than this time last year? 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 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 systems 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 as long as your home. Advanced, more efficient systems are 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 poorer! A replacement that’s been qualified with the Energy Star rating can be up to 30 percent more efficient, and that’s a difference you’ll notice in your home and your checkbook.

4. Excessive Noise

If you are having to raise your voice to talk because your heating unit is abnormally 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, bumping, or banging could be signs of a mechanical matter. It could be as straightforward as a worn belt, but it may mean an internal component of your unit has loosened or come completely detached.

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

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly bump up the heating system to keep things in the house comfy, that should be a major warning that it’s time to re-evaluate your furnace. There are several items 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 furnace, 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 thermostat. Common issues when the humidity is too low are dry air, sore throats, and chapped skin. Low humidity can even negatively impact hardwood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating systems help to keep this crucial balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the heating unit.

7. Air Quality Issues

A number of issues that don’t directly relate to temperature can be improved significantly with an expertly designed and properly installed heating unit. If you are experiencing issues with household odors, airborne allergens, such as pollen and pet dander, germs, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting a professional 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 furnace, or you want to upgrade your furnace to more efficient 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.