When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

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

  • Should I get a home alarm system? 
  • What types of bulbs meet my lighting needs but are going to be energy efficient? 
  • Should I install carpet or tile? 

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

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 unit that is wasting energy and money with every energy bill. 

But how should 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 heating system to eventually need a new belt 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 concern; 
  • Needing several visits during the same heating season; 
  • Constantly writing checks 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 unit, it’s likely time to replace your furnace. 

2. Energy Efficiency 

Are your utility bills are a little more expensive than you remember them being? That may be a sign that some part of your heater is weakening. Most companies can provide 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 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 forever. Newer, more efficient systems are coming out all the time. But how long should your unit 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 percent or poorer! 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 are having 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, rattling, clanking, or banging could be signs of a mechanical problem. It could be as straightforward as a worn belt, but it may mean an internal component of your unit has loosened or come completely separated. 

Today’s latest units work more soundlessly than ever. Often you’ll have to really pay 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 turn up the heater to keep things in the house comfortable, that should be a major warning that it’s time to re-evaluate your furnace. There are several things 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 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 turning up the temperature. 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 systems help to keep this important balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the heating 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 HVAC 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 an experienced heating system contractor can start you on the road toward resolving them. 

So you do all your homework 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 renovation of the entire system, call Stevenson Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis. 

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