When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

There is so much to consider 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 laminate wood? 

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

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 energy bill. 

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

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 unit. 

1. Frequent Repair Costs 

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

  • Calling the service technician frequently for the same concern; 
  • Needing multiple visits during the same heating season; 
  • Constantly writing checks simply to keep your house comfortably warm. 

A general rule to remember: if yearly repair costs reach half of the present value of the heater, then 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 HVAC system 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 system 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 until the end of time. Newer, more efficient systems are coming out all the time. But how long should your heating unit 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 percent or worse! 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 checkbook. 

4. Excessive Noise 

If you have to raise your voice to talk because your heater is so 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, bumping, 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 disconnected. 

Today’s latest systems operate more quietly than ever. Often you’ll have to really play close attention to even know if 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 bump up the furnace 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 things that could cause this issue – it may be resolved 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 bumping up the thermostat. Common grumbles 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 units help 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 

Many 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, mold, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting an expert 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 heating system, or you want to upgrade your furnace to high-efficiency 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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