When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There is so much to worry about when it comes to taking care of your home.

  • Should I get a home alarm system?

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

  • Should I install carpeting or laminate wood?

As if that’s not enough, include one more thing on the list: When should I replace my heating unit?

Your heating system 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 heater 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 service or if it’s time to replace your current heating system.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is normal for a heating unit to eventually need a new blower or a little attention once a year to make sure everything is running correctly, but a well-maintained heating unit should work without much mending along the way. A few signs 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 accruing bills simply to keep your house comfortably warm.

A general rule to remember: if yearly repair costs reach 50 percent of the present value of the heater, it’s 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 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 deciding if your heating unit is going out. Older heating units 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 a new system.

3. Old Age

Heating units were never designed to last as long as your home. Advanced, more efficient units 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% or less! 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 checkbook.

4. Excessive Noise

If you have to raise your voice to talk because your system 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, shaking, clinking, 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 disconnected.

Today’s latest products 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 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 turn up the furnace to keep things in the house cozy, that should be a major warning that it’s time to re-evaluate your furnace. There are several items 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 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 issues when the humidity is too low are dry air, sore throats, and chapped skin. Low humidity can even negatively impact wooden floors and furniture. Today’s best heating systems help to keep this crucial balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the HVAC unit.

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 unit. 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 to fixing them.

So you do all your investigating and decide you do need a new furnace, or you want to upgrade your furnace to more efficient technology, replace your home’s ductwork, or do a total overhaul of the entire system, call Chief / Bauer Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.