When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

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

  • Should I get an alarm system?

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

  • Should I install carpet or laminate wood?

Of course if that’s not enough, add one more thing to the list: When should I replace my heating system?

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 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 heating system.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is normal for a heater to eventually need a new belt or a little TLC once a year to make sure everything is running properly, but a well-maintained heating system 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 concern;
  • needing several visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly spending money just to keep your house comfortably warm.

A general rule to remember: if annual repair costs reach 50 percent of the present value of the heating system, it’s most 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 heating system is weakening. Most companies can provide 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 technologies are much more efficient at heating your home. Also, upgrading to a high-efficiency unit 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 systems operate at an efficiency of just 65% 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 bank account.

4. Excessive Noise

If you have to raise your voice to talk because your heater 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, bumping, 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 soundlessly than ever. Often you’ll have to really give attention to even know if they’re running. If noise pollution is important for you, that may be reason enough to upgrade to better equipment.

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly hike up the heater 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 fixed with a new thermostat that allows you more control – so before you assume that you’re in for a whole new heater, 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 heat. Common issues when the humidity is too low are dry air, congestion, and chapped skin. Low humidity can even negatively impact wood 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 heating 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 and pet dander, mold, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting an experienced heating system contractor can start you on the road toward resolving them.

So you do all your research and decide you do need a new heating unit, 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 Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air, A Service Experts Company today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.