When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There is a lot to consider when it comes to thinking about 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 laminate wood?

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

Your heater 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 heating 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 maintenance visit or if it’s time to replace your current heating unit.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is common for a heater to eventually need a part replacement or a little attention once a year to make sure everything is running smoothly, but a well-maintained heating system should work without much repairing along the way. A few signs 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 accruing bills just to keep your house comfortably warm.

A general rule to remember: if yearly repair costs reach 50% of the present value of the heater, it’s 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 give you 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 discovering if your heating unit is going out. 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 your new system.

3. Old Age

Heating equipment were never designed to last forever. Better, more efficient technology is coming out all the time. But how long should your heating 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% 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 wallet.

4. Excessive Noise

If you have to raise your voice to talk because your system is abnormally 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, clanking, or banging could be signs of a mechanical issue. It could be as simple as a worn belt, but it may mean an internal component of your unit has loosened or come completely detached.

Today’s latest products work more quietly than ever. Often you’ll have to really give attention to even know when they’re running. If noise pollution is a concern for you, that may be reason enough to upgrade to more modern equipment.

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly jack up the heater to keep things in the house comfy, 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 heating system, 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 thermostat. Common complaints when the humidity is too low are dry air, congestion, and chapped skin. Incorrect humidity can even negatively impact wooden floors and furniture. Today’s best heating equipment helps to keep this crucial balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the heating system.

7. Air Quality Issues

Several 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 or pet dander, mold, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting an expert heating system contractor can start you on the road to 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 high-efficiency technology, replace your home’s ductwork, or do a total overhaul of the entire system, call Knochelmann Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.