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When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

There are many things to consider when it comes to taking care of your home. 

  • Should I get an alarm system? 
  • What types of light bulbs meet my lighting needs but are going to be energy efficient? 
  • Should I install carpet or hardwood? 

As if that’s not enough, add one more thing to 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 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 unit. 

1. Frequent Repair Costs 

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

  • Calling the service technician repeatedly for the same concern; 
  • Needing several visits during the same heating season; 
  • Constantly accruing bills 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 system, then it’s likely time to replace your furnace. 

2. Energy Efficiency 

Are your heating are a little more than this time last year? 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 deciding if your heating unit is going out. Older heating units can be very inefficient, while newer products 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 your new system. 

3. Old Age 

Heating equipment were never designed to last as long as your home. Better, 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 heating units 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 percent more efficient, and that’s a difference you’ll notice in your home and your bank account. 

4. Excessive Noise 

If you are having to raise your voice to talk because your heating system is too 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, shaking, clanking, or banging could be signs of a mechanical matter. 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 work more soundlessly than ever. Often you’ll have to really pay attention to even know when they’re running. If noise pollution is an issue for you, that may be reason enough to upgrade to newer 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 sign 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 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 heat. Common issues when the humidity is too low are dry air, congestion, and chapped skin. Low humidity can even negatively impact hardwood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating systems help to keep this important balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the heating system. 

7. Air Quality Issues 

Several issues that don’t directly relate to temperature can be improved significantly with an expertly designed and properly installed HVAC 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 a professional heating system contractor can start you on the road to resolving them. 

So you do all your research and decide you do need a new heater, 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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