When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There is so much to contemplate when it comes to thinking about your home.

  • Should I get a security system?

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

  • Should I install carpet or laminate wood?

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

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

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

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 system.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is normal for a heater to eventually need a new belt or a little attention once a year to make sure everything is running correctly, but a well-maintained heater 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 frequently for the same concern;
  • needing several visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly spending money simply to keep your house comfortably warm.

A general rule to remember: if yearly repair costs reach 50 percent 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 than you remember them being? That may be a sign that some part of your HVAC system is weakening. Most companies can deliver a residential energy audit which can show you easily remedied inefficiencies like weather-stripping around your doors and windows or attic insulation. It may also be the first step in discovering if your heating unit is going out. Older heating units can be very inefficient, while newer products 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 your new system.

3. Old Age

Heating equipment were never designed to last as long as your home. Better, 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 percent or worse! 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 wallet.

4. Excessive Noise

If you are having to raise your voice to talk because your heater is too 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, clinking, 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 detached.

Today’s latest units work more soundlessly than ever. Often you’ll have to really pay attention to even know if they’re running. If noise pollution is important 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 furnace to keep things in the house cozy, that should be a major red flag that it’s time to re-evaluate your furnace. There are several things 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 unit, 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 heat. Common grumbles when the humidity is too low are dry air, sinusitis, and chapped skin. Incorrect humidity can even negatively impact hardwood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating equipment helps to keep this precious balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the HVAC 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, bacteria, 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 research 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 rebuild of the entire system, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.