When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

December 28, 2015

There are many things to consider when it comes to running your home.

  • Should I get a security system?

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

  • Should I install carpet or laminate wood?

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

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 heating system 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 service 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 new blower or a little TLC once a year to make sure everything is running properly, but a well-maintained heater should work without much repairing along the way. A few indications that your system may be in need of replacing are below:

  • calling the service technician repeatedly for the same issue;
  • needing numerous visits during the same heating season;
  • constantly accruing bills simply 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 most likely time to replace your furnace.

2. Energy Efficiency

Are your heating are a little higher than they were last year? That may be a sign that some part of your heater 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 determining 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 product could mean tax credits or utility rebates and incentives to help you recoup the cost of a new system.

3. Old Age

Heating units were never designed to last until the end of time. 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 furnaces 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 percent 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 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, clanking, 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 units function more quietly than ever. Often you’ll have to really pay attention to even know if they’re running. If noise pollution is an issue for you, that may be reason enough to upgrade to more modern equipment.

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues

If you are having to constantly turn up the furnace 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 items 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 unit, give some consideration 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 hiking up the heat. Common complaints when the humidity is too low are dry air, congestion, and chapped skin. Low humidity can even negatively impact wooden floors and furniture. Today’s best heating equipment helps to keep this important balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the heating unit.

7. Air Quality Issues

A number of 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 or pet dander, bacteria, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting a professional heating system contractor can start you on the road toward fixing them.

So you do all your homework and decide you do need a new heating unit, or you want to upgrade your furnace to more efficient technology, replace your home’s ductwork, or do a total overhaul of the entire system, call Komfort Air today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.