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When Should You Upgrade Your Furnace?

There are many things to contemplate when it comes to thinking about your home. 

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

And 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 heater? 

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 normal for a heating system to eventually need a part replacement or a little love 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 indications that your system may be in need of replacing are below: 

  • Calling the service technician multiple times for the same problem; 
  • Needing multiple 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 system, 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 give you 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 in need of replacing. 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 units were never designed to last until the end of time. Newer, 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% 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 bank account. 

4. Excessive Noise 

If you are having to raise your voice to talk because your heating unit is so loud, that could be a indication that your duct system is undersized and too much air is being pushed through too small an opening. 

Other noises like squealing, rattling, clinking, 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 work more quietly 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 better equipment. 

5. Temperature and Comfort Issues 

If you are having to constantly hike up the furnace to keep things in the house comfortable, 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 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 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 turning up the thermostat. Common complaints when the humidity is too low are dry air, sore throats, and chapped skin. Low humidity can even negatively impact hardwood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating units help to keep this important balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the HVAC unit. 

7. Air Quality Issues 

Many 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 and pet dander, germs, 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 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 Stevenson Service Experts today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis. 

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