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 an alarm system?

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

  • Should I install carpeting or tile?

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

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

But how do 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 heating system to eventually need a new blower or a little TLC once a year to make sure everything is running smoothly, but a well-maintained heating system should work without much fixing 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 issue;
  • needing numerous visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly spending money just to keep your house comfortably warm.

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

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your utility bills are a little higher 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 to 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 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 your new system.

3. Old Age

Heating systems were never designed to last until the end of time. Better, more efficient technology is coming out all the time. But how long should your heating unit 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 percent 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 system 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, jolting, clinking, or banging could be signs of a mechanical matter. It could be as easy as a worn belt, but it may mean an internal component of your unit has loosened or come completely disconnected.

Today’s latest systems work more silently than ever. Often you’ll have to really pay attention to even know when 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 heater to keep things in the house comfy, that should be a major red flag that it’s time to re-evaluate your furnace. There are several items 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 unit, 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 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 wooden 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 HVAC unit.

7. Air Quality Issues

Several issues that don’t directly relate to temperature can be improved significantly with an expertly designed and properly installed HVAC unit. If you are experiencing issues with household odors, airborne allergens, such as pollen or pet dander, bacteria, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting a professional heating system contractor can start you on the road toward resolving them.

So you do all your homework 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.