When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There is a lot to worry about when it comes to taking care of your home.

  • Should I get a security system?

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

  • Should I install carpet or hardwood?

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

Your heating system 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 should 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 service or if it’s time to replace your current heating unit.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is not uncommon for a heater 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 multiple times for the same issue;
  • needing several 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 50 percent 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 you remember them being? That may be a sign that some part of your heater 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 giving up. 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 units were never designed to last as long as your home. Newer, more efficient systems 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 systems 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% 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 unit is so 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, rattling, bumping, or banging could be signs of a mechanical problem. 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 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 newer equipment.

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly hike up the furnace 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 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 heater, give some attention 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 complaints when the humidity is too low are dry air, sinusitis, and chapped skin. Incorrect humidity can even negatively impact wooden 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 unit. 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 green technology, replace your home’s ductwork, or do a total renovation of the entire system, call Becht/Givens Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.