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 bulbs meet my lighting needs but are energy efficient?

  • Should I install carpeting or hardwood?

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

Your heating system 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 utility bill.

But how should I know if it’s time to replace my heating unit?

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 attention once a year to make sure everything is running smoothly, but a well-maintained heater should work without much repairing along the way. A few indications that your system may be in need of replacing are below:

  • calling the service technician multiple times for the same issue;
  • needing several 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 percent of the present value of the heating unit, it’s likely time to replace your furnace.

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your energy are a little higher than they were last year? That may be a sign that some part of your heater is weakening. Most companies can provide 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 in need of replacing. Older heating systems can be very inefficient, while newer systems 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 your new system.

3. Old Age

Heating equipment 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 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% 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 wallet.

4. Excessive Noise

If you are having to raise your voice to talk because your heating system is so loud, that could be a indicator that your duct system is undersized and too much air is being pushed through too small an opening.

Other noises like squealing, jolting, clanking, or banging could be signs of a mechanical issue. It could be as simple 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 quietly 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 newer equipment.

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly jack up the heating system 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 things that could cause this issue - it may be rectified 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 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 turning up the heat. Common issues when the humidity is too low are dry air, sore throats, 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 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 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 a professional heating system contractor can start you on the road toward fixing them.

So you do all your homework and decide you do need a new heating system, or you want to upgrade your furnace to high-efficiency technology, replace your home’s ductwork, or do a total renovation of the entire system, call Strand Brothers Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.