When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

There are many things to consider when it comes to running your home. 

  • Should I get a home alarm system? 
  • What types of fixtures meet my lighting needs but are energy efficient? 
  • Should I install carpeting or tile? 

As 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 heater that is wasting energy and money with every energy 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 common for a heater to eventually need a new belt or a little TLC 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 indicators that your system may be in need of replacing are below: 

  • Calling the service technician frequently for the same problem; 
  • Needing several visits during the same heating season; 
  • Constantly accruing bills just to keep your house comfortably warm. 

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

2. Energy Efficiency 

Are your utility bills are a little more expensive than this time last year? That may be a sign that some part of your heater is weakening. Most companies can give you 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 determining if your heating unit is going out. Older heating systems 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 your new system. 

3. Old Age 

Heating units were never designed to last until the end of time. Advanced, 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 heating systems 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 need to raise your voice to talk because your heater is so 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, jolting, bumping, or banging could be signs of a mechanical problem. It could be as straightforward 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 silently than ever. Often you’ll have to really play close attention to even know if 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 heater 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 factors 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 turning up the thermostat. Common complaints when the humidity is too low are dry air, sore throats, and chapped skin. Incorrect humidity can even negatively impact hardwood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating units help 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 

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

So you do all your investigating and decide you do need a new heater, or you want to upgrade your furnace to more efficient technology, replace your home’s ductwork, or do a total rebuild of the entire system, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis. 

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