When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

There is a lot to consider when it comes to taking care of your home. 

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

Of course if that’s not enough, include one more thing on the list: When should I replace my heater? 

Your heater 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 energy bill. 

But how can I know if it’s time to replace my heating unit? 

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 system. 

1. Frequent Repair Costs 

It is not uncommon for a heating unit to eventually need a new blower or a little attention once a year to make sure everything is running properly, but a well-maintained heating unit 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 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 annual repair costs reach 50 percent 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 higher than this time 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 point out 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 systems can be very inefficient, while newer products 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 units were never designed to last as long as your home. Better, more efficient systems 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 furnaces 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 checkbook. 

4. Excessive Noise 

If you have to raise your voice to talk because your system is too 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, 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 units function more quietly than ever. Often you’ll have to really play close attention to even know when they’re running. If noise pollution is an issue 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 warning 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 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 bumping up the heat. Common complaints when the humidity is too low are dry air, sore throats, and chapped skin. Incorrect humidity can even negatively impact wood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating units help to keep this important balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the HVAC system. 

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 unit. If you are experiencing issues with household odors, airborne allergens, such as pollen and pet dander, bacteria, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting a professional heating system contractor can start you on the road to resolving them. 

So you do all your investigating and decide you do need a new heating unit, 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 Stevenson Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis. 

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