When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

There are many things to worry about when it comes to thinking about your home. 

  • Should I get an alarm system? 
  • What types of fixtures meet my lighting needs but are still energy efficient? 
  • Should I install carpeting or tile? 

As 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 constant 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 system 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 maintenance visit or if it’s time to replace your current heating unit. 

1. Frequent Repair Costs 

It is normal for a heater to eventually need a part replacement or a little attention once a year to make sure everything is running properly, but a well-maintained heater 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 repeatedly for the same issue; 
  • Needing numerous 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% of the present value of the heating unit, then it’s likely time to replace your furnace. 

2. Energy Efficiency 

Are your heating are a little more expensive than they were 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 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 giving up. 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 your new system. 

3. Old Age 

Heating systems were never designed to last forever. 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 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 bank account. 

4. Excessive Noise 

If you need to raise your voice to talk because your system is too loud, that could be a indicator that your duct system is undersized and too much air is being pushed through too small an opening. 

Other noises like squealing, rattling, clinking, or banging could be signs of a mechanical issue. It could be as easy 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 silently than ever. Often you’ll have to really give attention to even know that 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 heater to keep things in the house comfy, 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 rectified with a new thermostat that allows you more control – so before you assume that you’re in for a whole new heater, 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 issues 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 units 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 

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, germs, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting a professional heating system contractor can start you on the road toward fixing them. 

So you do all your investigating and decide you do need a new heater, 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis. 

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