When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

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

  • Should I get an alarm system?

  • What types of bulbs meet my lighting needs but are going to be energy efficient?

  • Should I install carpet or laminate wood?

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

Your heating system 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 unit that is wasting energy and money with every heating 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 normal for a heating system to eventually need a new blower or a little love once a year to make sure everything is running properly, 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 repeatedly for the same concern;
  • needing multiple visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly accruing bills simply to keep your house comfortably warm.

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

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your utility bills are a little higher than you remember them being? That may be a sign that some part of your heater 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 deciding if your heating unit is in need of replacing. Older heating systems 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 equipment were never designed to last until the end of time. Advanced, more efficient technology is 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 percent or less! 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 have 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, shaking, bumping, 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 units work more soundlessly 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 turn up the heating system to keep things in the house comfortable, 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 resolved with a new thermostat that allows you more control – so before you assume that you’re in for a whole new heater, 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 hiking up the heat. Common complaints when the humidity is too low are dry air, sinusitis, and chapped skin. Low 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 heating system.

7. Air Quality Issues

Many 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, germs, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting an experienced heating system contractor can start you on the road to resolving them.

So you do all your investigating and decide you do need a new heating system, 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 Air Engineers Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.