One of the most important mechanical systems in your house is the furnace. It's responsible for keeping your home safe, comfortable, and enjoyable. However, they're not built to last forever. All homeowners will likely need an HVAC professional, such as Absolute Electrical Heating and Air, to repair or replace the unit at one point or another. These systems can't last forever.
Repairs and replacements are an expensive prospect few want to think about. But consider this for a moment: If your doctor said you needed to stop a habit before it worsens, you'd want to treat that problem early on? Why jump right into paying for a new furnace if regular maintenance and repairs can solve the problem? Make sure that you are getting a tune-up at least twice a year for your system to prolong the life of it.
Besides repairs and regular maintenance, there is the whole, replacing the system idea. When should you replace the furnace, anyway?
When Your Furnace Hits 15 Years or Over
If your furnace passes that 15-year mark, chances are good, it will need replacement soon. Even if it's still working, it's likely not operating at the best possible efficiency, meaning your utility bills are higher than they should be.
Just like a car, when a furnace gets older it requires more maintenance compared to a newer system. Usually, a furnace ends up breaking down the most in the last two years of life. If your heater is 20 years old and your repair costs more than 15 percent of the cost of a replacement, then replace it. Chances are it will break down again soon anyway.
As a general rule of thumb, no matter how old your furnace is if it costs more than 50 percent of a new unit to repair, you really should consider to go ahead and get the new unit.
If you're not having any maintenance issues with your furnace but still notice high utility bills, there are other solutions to explore. One example would be updating the thermostat to the kind you can set schedules on, or getting the air duct system cleaned out. If you're thinking about a portable heater, think again. This option isn't going to heat up an entire house, if you buy multiple, all that happens is your utility bills increase dramatically.
Our experts can help you figure out the best, cost-effective solution for your needs.
Your Month to Month Energy Use Has Increased
Older furnaces usually have to work harder to supply the same amount of heating as when it was brand new. That means you'll have to repair it more often, and you'll pay higher utility bills monthly.
It's okay to expect a small increase as your furnace ages over time. However, when the bill jumps up, and your repairman knows you by name, it's worth looking into a new unit. The amount you save on all those repairs and heating bills will pay for the new furnace in no time at all.
Different Rooms In Your Home Are Different Temps
Old, inefficient furnaces favor some rooms and not others. An outdated duct system could be to blame as it's unable to distribute heat throughout a building evenly. If this is something you're experiencing, you'll want to talk to one of our HVAC experts right away to discuss solutions. Although, it could be a leak or tear in your air duct system, so it would be safe to get both looked it.
Your Registers Have Soot
Older furnaces may spew rust particles, dirt, or dust. These all can not only irritate whoever is in the room, but it's not good for your health either. If you find rust or soot around the registers or the furnace, it's likely the unit has too much carbon dioxide.
Excess CO2 also leads to excess dryness, meaning it affects the plants, furniture, wood floors, and walls. If your family has dry, itchy throats, or your plants start to wilt, it's time to get a new furnace.
It's not uncommon for furnaces to make noise when they start up or turn off, but they'll get louder and louder as they get old. If the sound doesn't stop, then it could be time to get a new unit.
The types of sounds you might hear include screeching, humming, banging, or popping. All these sounds can suggest something wrong with parts of the furnace or with the unit itself. Some specific causes for each sound could be:
Rattling: Loose screws, unsecured ductwork, or loose sheet metal could all cause this sound. It might also indicate that the blower motor is not balanced well.
Popping: When parts of the furnace are warm and cool in response to temperature changes inside the system, popping sounds can occur.
Humming: The fan should never be loud or disruptive, but some degree of humming is normal. If it's disruptive, it could suggest a failing blower fan motor or inducer motor.
Squealing or screeching: These noises also suggest a problem with the inducer motor or blower motor. Causes include a deteriorating belt, loose bearings, or a pulley problem.
The more technology advances, the more new and improved models enter the market, each with advantages over their older models. This is true with your furnace. Although your old unit could be in great shape, it might be cheaper to upgrade to a more efficient model.