When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There is so much to contemplate when it comes to thinking about your home.

  • Should I get an alarm system?

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

  • Should I install carpeting or tile?

And if that’s not enough, include 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 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 maintenance visit or if it’s time to replace your current heating unit.

1. Frequent Repair Costs

It is normal for a heating unit to eventually need a part replacement or a little love once a year to make sure everything is running properly, but a well-maintained heating unit should work without much fixing along the way. A few indications that your system may be in need of replacing are below:

  • calling the service technician frequently for the same issue;
  • needing numerous visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly spending money just 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, it’s most likely time to replace your furnace.

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your utility bills are a little more than they were 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 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 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 the new system.

3. Old Age

Heating units were never designed to last forever. Newer, more efficient units are 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 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 heater 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, rattling, bumping, or banging could be signs of a mechanical problem. It could be as straightforward as a worn belt, but it may mean an internal component of your unit has loosened or come completely separated.

Today’s latest units operate more soundlessly than ever. Often you’ll have to really pay 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 heating system to keep things in the house cozy, that should be a major red flag 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 heat. Common issues when the humidity is too low are dry air, sinusitis, and chapped skin. Low humidity can even negatively impact wood 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

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, germs, 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 homework and decide you do need a new heating unit, 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 D & K Heating Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.