When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

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

  • Should I get an alarm system? 
  • What types of fixtures meet my lighting needs but are 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 system? 

Your heating unit shouldn’t require continuous 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 utility bill. 

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

The following warning signs can help you determine if you just need a quick maintenance visit or if it’s time to replace your current heating unit. 

1. Frequent Repair Costs 

It is common for a heater to eventually need a new blower or a little TLC once a year to make sure everything is running properly, but a well-maintained heating system should work without much mending 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 issue; 
  • Needing several 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 most likely time to replace your furnace. 

2. Energy Efficiency 

Are your utility bills are a little more 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 point out 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 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 the new system. 

3. Old Age 

Heating equipment were never designed to last forever. Better, more efficient units are 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 units operate at an efficiency of just 65 percent 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 bank account. 

4. Excessive Noise 

If you need to raise your voice to talk because your system is too 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, clanking, or banging could be signs of a mechanical issue. It could be as straightforward as a worn belt, but it may mean an internal component of your unit has loosened or come completely separated. 

Today’s latest units operate more quietly than ever. Often you’ll have to really play close attention to even know when they’re running. If noise pollution is important 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 furnace to keep things in the house comfy, that should be a major warning that it’s time to re-evaluate your furnace. There are several things 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 hiking up the heat. Common grumbles when the humidity is too low are dry air, sore throats, and chapped skin. Improper humidity can even negatively impact wood 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 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, bacteria, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting an expert heating system contractor can start you on the road to 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 rebuild of the entire system, call Stevenson Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis. 

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