When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There are many things to consider 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?

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

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

But how can 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 tune-up or if it’s time to replace your current heating system.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is not uncommon for a heater 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 unit 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 repeatedly for the same problem;
  • needing multiple visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly spending money just to keep your house comfortably warm.

A general rule to remember: if yearly repair costs reach 50 percent of the present value of the heating system, then 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 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 in need of replacing. Older heating units can be very inefficient, while newer systems 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 systems were never designed to last until the end of time. Advanced, more efficient units 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 heating systems 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% 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 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 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 detached.

Today’s latest units operate more soundlessly than ever. Often you’ll have to really give attention to even know that they’re running. If noise pollution is important for you, that may be reason enough to upgrade to newer equipment.

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly bump up the furnace 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 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 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, congestion, and chapped skin. Improper humidity can even negatively impact hardwood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating equipment helps to keep this crucial 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 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 an expert 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 green 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.