When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There is so much to contemplate 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 energy efficient?

  • Should I install carpets or hardwood?

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

Your heater 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 do 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 tune-up or if it’s time to replace your current heater.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is not uncommon for a heater to eventually need a new belt or a little attention once a year to make sure everything is running smoothly, but a well-maintained heater should work without much fixing along the way. A few signs that your system may be in need of replacing are below:

  • calling the service technician frequently for the same issue;
  • needing multiple visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly accruing bills simply to keep your house comfortably warm.

A general rule to remember: if annual repair costs reach half 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 HVAC system is weakening. Most companies can deliver a residential energy audit which can show you 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 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 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 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% 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 checkbook.

4. Excessive Noise

If you have 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, jolting, clinking, 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 quietly than ever. Often you’ll have to really give attention to even know when they’re running. If noise pollution is a concern 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 heating system to keep things in the house comfy, that should be a major sign that it’s time to re-evaluate your furnace. There are several items 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 unit, 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 hiking up the thermostat. Common complaints 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 equipment helps 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 and pet dander, mold, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting an expert 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 furnace, 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 All American Air Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.