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 an alarm system?

  • What types of bulbs meet my lighting needs but are still 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 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 heating 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 tune-up or if it’s time to replace your current heating unit.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is common for a heating unit to eventually need a new belt or a little love once a year to make sure everything is running properly, but a well-maintained heating unit 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 spending money simply to keep your house comfortably warm.

A general rule to remember: if annual repair costs reach half of the present value of the heater, it’s most 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 HVAC system 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 units 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 the new system.

3. Old Age

Heating equipment were never designed to last until the end of time. Newer, more efficient systems are coming out all the time. But how long should your system 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 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 checkbook.

4. Excessive Noise

If you have to raise your voice to talk because your heater 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, 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 separated.

Today’s latest units function more soundlessly than ever. Often you’ll have to really give 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 bump up the heating system 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 resolved with a new thermostat that allows you more control – so before you assume that you’re in for a whole new furnace, 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, sinusitis, and chapped skin. Improper humidity can even negatively impact wood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating equipment helps to keep this important balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the heating 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 heating system. If you are experiencing issues with household odors, airborne allergens, such as pollen and pet dander, mold, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting an experienced 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 overhaul of the entire system, call TML Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.