When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There is a lot to contemplate when it comes to thinking about your home.

  • Should I get an alarm system?

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

  • Should I install carpeting or laminate wood?

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

Your heater shouldn’t require undivided 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 should 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 heater.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is not uncommon for a heating unit to eventually need a new blower or a little love once a year to make sure everything is running smoothly, but a well-maintained heating unit should work without much mending along the way. A few indicators that your system may be in need of replacing are below:

  • calling the service technician frequently for the same issue;
  • needing several visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly writing checks just to keep your house comfortably warm.

A general rule to remember: if yearly repair costs reach 50% of the present value of the heating system, then it’s likely time to replace your furnace.

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your heating are a little more than this time last year? That may be a sign that some part of your heating system 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 determining if your heating unit is giving up. Older heating systems 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 a new system.

3. Old Age

Heating equipment were never designed to last forever. Newer, more efficient systems 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 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 checkbook.

4. Excessive Noise

If you need to raise your voice to talk because your heater is too loud, that could be a indication 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 issue. It could be as straightforward as a worn belt, but it may mean an internal component of your unit has loosened or come completely separated.

Today’s latest systems 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 better equipment.

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly turn up the heater to keep things in the house comfy, that should be a major sign that it’s time to re-evaluate your furnace. There are several factors that could cause this issue - it may be resolved 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 bumping up the temperature. Common issues when the humidity is too low are dry air, sinusitis, and chapped skin. Low humidity can even negatively impact wood 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 system.

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 an expert heating system contractor can start you on the road toward fixing them.

So you do all your research and decide you do need a new furnace, or you want to upgrade your furnace to high-efficiency 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.