When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There is so much to worry about when it comes to taking care of your home.

  • Should I get a security system?

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

  • Should I install carpet or tile?

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

Your heater 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 heating unit that is wasting energy and money with every heating bill.

But how do 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 tune-up or if it’s time to replace your current heater.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is not uncommon for a heating unit to eventually need a new blower or a little TLC once a year to make sure everything is running smoothly, but a well-maintained heating system should work without much fixing 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 issue;
  • needing several visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly accruing bills just to keep your house comfortably warm.

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

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your energy 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 deliver 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 discovering if your heating unit is going out. Older heating units can be very inefficient, while newer systems 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 units were never designed to last forever. Better, 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 less! 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 are having to raise your voice to talk because your heating system is too loud, that could be a sign that your duct system is undersized and too much air is being pushed through too small an opening.

Other noises like squealing, jolting, clinking, 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 separated.

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 heater 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 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 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 turning up the temperature. Common issues when the humidity is too low are dry air, congestion, and chapped skin. Improper humidity can even negatively impact hardwood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating equipment helps 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

Several issues that don’t directly relate to temperature can be improved significantly with an expertly designed and properly installed HVAC 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 experienced 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 heating system, or you want to upgrade your furnace to green technology, replace your home’s ductwork, or do a total overhaul of the entire system, call Epperson Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.