When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There are many things to contemplate when it comes to taking care of your home.

  • Should I get a home alarm system?

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

  • Should I install carpets or tile?

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

But how do 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 service or if it’s time to replace your current heater.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is common for a heating system to eventually need a part replacement or a little attention 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 repeatedly for the same concern;
  • needing multiple 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, then it’s likely time to replace your furnace.

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your energy are a little more than you remember them being? That may be a sign that some part of your heater is weakening. Most companies can provide 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 in need of replacing. Older heating units can be very inefficient, while newer products 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 forever. Better, more efficient systems are coming out all the time. But how long should your unit 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 less! 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 need to raise your voice to talk because your system is so 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, jolting, bumping, 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 separated.

Today’s latest systems operate more silently than ever. Often you’ll have to really play close attention to even know that they’re running. If noise pollution is an issue for you, that may be reason enough to upgrade to more modern equipment.

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly jack up the furnace to keep things in the house comfortable, 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 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 thermostat. Common complaints when the humidity is too low are dry air, sinusitis, and chapped skin. Incorrect humidity can even negatively impact wooden floors and furniture. Today’s best heating systems help to keep this precious balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the HVAC 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 system. If you are experiencing issues with household odors, airborne allergens, such as pollen or pet dander, germs, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting an experienced 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 heating unit, 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.