When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There is a lot to consider when it comes to taking care of your home.

  • Should I get a security system?

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

  • Should I install carpet or tile?

And if that’s not enough, go ahead and put one more thing on the list: When should I replace my heating unit?

Your heater 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 heater that is wasting energy and money with every heating bill.

But how can 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 heating system.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is not uncommon for a heater to eventually need a new blower or a little love 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 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 writing checks simply 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 they were last year? That may be a sign that some part of your heating system is weakening. Most companies can provide a residential energy audit which can point out 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 units can be very inefficient, while newer systems are much more efficient at heating your home. Also, upgrading to a high-efficiency product could mean tax credits or utility rebates and incentives to help you recoup the cost of a new system.

3. Old Age

Heating equipment were never designed to last forever. Newer, 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 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 are having to raise your voice to talk because your heater is too 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, rattling, bumping, 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 separated.

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 a concern for you, that may be reason enough to upgrade to more modern equipment.

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly hike up the heater to keep things in the house comfortable, that should be a major sign 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 heater, give some consideration 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 temperature. Common grumbles 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 equipment helps to keep this crucial balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the heating unit.

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 and pet dander, germs, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting a professional heating system contractor can start you on the road to fixing them.

So you do all your research and decide you do need a new furnace, 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 Fras-Air/General Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.