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When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

There is a lot to consider when it comes to thinking about your home. 

  • Should I get a security system? 
  • What types of fixtures meet my lighting needs but are going to be energy efficient? 
  • Should I install carpeting or hardwood? 

Of course if that’s not enough, include 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 heating system that is wasting energy and money with every energy bill. 

But how can 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 tune-up or if it’s time to replace your current heating system. 

1. Frequent Repair Costs 

It is not uncommon for a heating unit to eventually need a new belt or a little TLC 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 repeatedly for the same problem; 
  • Needing several visits during the same heating season; 
  • Constantly writing checks just to keep your house comfortably warm. 

A general rule to remember: if yearly repair costs reach half of the present value of the heating unit, then it’s likely time to replace your furnace. 

2. Energy Efficiency 

Are your energy are a little higher than they were last year? That may be a sign that some part of your HVAC system is weakening. Most companies can provide 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 going out. 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 forever. Advanced, more efficient technology is coming out all the time. But how long should your 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% 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 checkbook. 

4. Excessive Noise 

If you are having to raise your voice to talk because your heating unit is so 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, jolting, clanking, or banging could be signs of a mechanical matter. It could be as straightforward as a worn belt, but it may mean an internal component of your unit has loosened or come completely disconnected. 

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

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues 

If you are having to constantly turn up the furnace 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 factors that could cause this issue – it may be rectified 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 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 hiking up the heat. Common grumbles when the humidity is too low are dry air, sinusitis, and chapped skin. Incorrect humidity can even negatively impact wood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating equipment helps to keep this precious balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the heating system. 

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 heating unit. If you are experiencing issues with household odors, airborne allergens, such as pollen and pet dander, bacteria, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting an experienced heating system contractor can start you on the road toward fixing them. 

So you do all your investigating and decide you do need a new furnace, or you want to upgrade your furnace to more efficient technology, replace your home’s ductwork, or do a total rebuild of the entire system, call Stevenson Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis. 

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