When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

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

  • Should I get a home alarm system?

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

  • Should I install carpeting or laminate wood?

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

Your heating unit shouldn’t require undivided 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 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 service or if it’s time to replace your current heater.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is normal for a heating system to eventually need a new blower or a little attention once a year to make sure everything is running correctly, but a well-maintained heater should work without much mending along the way. A few indications that your system may be in need of replacing are below:

  • calling the service technician multiple times for the same issue;
  • needing numerous visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly writing checks simply to keep your house comfortably warm.

A general rule to remember: if annual repair costs reach half of the present value of the heating unit, then it’s likely time to replace your furnace.

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your energy are a little more expensive than you remember them being? That may be a sign that some part of your HVAC 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 discovering if your heating unit is in need of replacing. Older heating units 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 the new system.

3. Old Age

Heating systems were never designed to last forever. Better, more efficient units 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 wallet.

4. Excessive Noise

If you are having to raise your voice to talk because your heating unit is abnormally 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, bumping, 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 detached.

Today’s latest units function 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 newer equipment.

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly hike up the heating system 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 fixed with a new thermostat that allows you more control – so before you assume that you’re in for a whole new heating unit, 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 bumping up the thermostat. Common issues when the humidity is too low are dry air, sinusitis, and chapped skin. Improper humidity can even negatively impact wood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating systems help to keep this precious 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 an expert heating system contractor can start you on the road toward fixing them.

So you do all your research 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 Levy & Son Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.