When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

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

  • Should I get a home alarm system? 
  • What types of bulbs meet my lighting needs but are still energy efficient? 
  • Should I install carpets or laminate wood? 

And if that’s not enough, go ahead and put one more thing on 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 maintenance visit or if it’s time to replace your current heating unit. 

1. Frequent Repair Costs 

It is common for a heating system to eventually need a new belt or a little love once a year to make sure everything is running correctly, but a well-maintained heater 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 frequently for the same concern; 
  • Needing multiple 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 50% of the present value of the heating unit, then it’s likely time to replace your furnace. 

2. Energy Efficiency 

Are your energy are a little higher than this time last year? That may be a sign that some part of your heater is weakening. Most companies can deliver 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 going out. Older heating systems can be very inefficient, while newer technologies 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 as long as your home. Better, more efficient units are coming out all the time. But how long should your unit last? The magic number for a furnace or boiler is 15 years. But keep in mind many old furnaces 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% more efficient, and that’s a difference you’ll notice in your home and your wallet. 

4. Excessive Noise 

If you have to raise your voice to talk because your system is so 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, clinking, 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 silently than ever. Often you’ll have to really pay attention to even know that they’re running. If noise pollution is an issue for you, that may be reason enough to upgrade to better equipment. 

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues 

If you are having to constantly bump 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 factors 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 temperature. Common grumbles when the humidity is too low are dry air, sinusitis, and chapped skin. Improper humidity can even negatively impact hardwood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating units help to keep this crucial balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the heating system. 

7. Air Quality Issues 

Several issues that don’t directly relate to temperature can be improved significantly with an expertly designed and properly installed HVAC system. If you are experiencing issues with household odors, airborne allergens, such as pollen or pet dander, germs, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting an expert heating system contractor can start you on the road toward resolving them. 

So you do all your investigating 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 renovation of the entire system, call Stevenson Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis. 

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