Leaves are starting to fall in our yard. Daylight seems to be getting shorter. Football is in full swing. These are three dominate signs that fall is here, and winter can’t be too far behind. It’s also a heads-up that you will be using your home’s furnace and/ or heating system before too long.
There is no time like right now to make sure your furnace is up to the task of keeping your home warm all winter. How do you know if it’s time to replace your old furnace with a new one? We’ve listed five warning signs that will help you identify if it’s time to replace your furnace.
Your furnace is more than 15 years old
If your furnace is 15 years of age or older and beginning to have maintenance issues, there is a good chance it needs to be replaced. It may be working, but it is likely not operating at maximum efficiency and your utility bills are much higher than they should be.
Furnaces are like cars; the older they are, the more maintenance they need. They usually incur the most repair costs within the last two years of their life. If your furnace is 15 to 20 years old or older and you have a repair costing more than 25 percent of a new furnace, it makes good economic sense to go ahead and replace your furnace. Today’s energy efficient comfort systems will save you a great deal of money on your energy bill, probably enough to offset the cost of a new system.
Your energy bills continue to rise
If your furnace is operating with little to no maintenance issues but you’re noticing higher utility bills, there may be some lower cost solutions for you. Some alternative options may be updating your thermostat to a programmable one or cleaning or updating your duct system. As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, today’s comfort systems are so much more energy efficient than systems being installed just a few years ago, installing a new system can pay for its self in the long run with lower energy bills.
Your repair costs continue to Rise
An older furnace is bound to work harder to provide the levels of heating it did when it was new. This means higher energy bills and more frequent repairs. A slight increase in both is OK for an older furnace. But once you begin seeing significant bill increases and your furnace repairman knows you by name, it may be time to look into getting a new furnace. The amount of money you will save in the long run from a more efficient unit will be worth the short-term investment.
You have different temperatures in different rooms of your home
An inefficient and old furnace can result in some rooms being colder or warmer than others. This is likely the result of an old furnace and outdated duct system losing its ability to distribute heat evenly throughout your home. If you’re experiencing some of these issues, feel free to contact Garrison and Garrison Heating and Air at 256-859-8500. Our HVAC professionals will be happy to inspect your system and make recommendations specific to your home’s needs.
Your furnace is extra noisy
Furnaces tend to make some noise when they turn on and off, but if those noises start to get progressively louder, it may be time to replace your unit. These sounds may come in the form of popping, banging, humming, or screeching. This could be a telltale sign that you may need to replace a furnace or some parts within the furnace. The reason for some of these sounds could be:
- Rattling: Unsecured ductwork, loose screws or sheet metal can be the cause of this sound. It may also mean the lower motor is not properly balanced.
- Popping: This sound can happen when parts within your furnace warm and cool in response to temperature changes within your system.
- Humming: Your fan motor may produce electrical humming sounds, but the fan should never be loud or disruptive. If it is, your inducer motor or blower fan motor could be starting to fail.
- Screeching or Squealing: These noises are a sign there is an overall issue with your blower motor or inducer motor. Possible issues could be a loose bearing, deteriorating belt, or an issue with the pulley that holds the belt.
Why Your Old Heating System Could be Costing You More Than Just Maintenance Costs
As technology advances, new and improved models are introduced to the market that offer many advantages above what their older systems produce. This is true with just about everything — including your heating system. While an older furnace or heater may still be functioning fine, chances are that it is more expensive to operate than a newer system.
Loss in Efficiency
As heating equipment ages, it loses efficiency. Plus, newer heating equipment has a much higher efficiency than your older system was in its prime, thanks to new technology and regulations. Operating an older, less efficient system costs you far more in energy expenses than operating a new system — enough so in many cases that it can pay off the cost of installing the new unit in a short period of time.
According to the Department of Energy, replacing an older system that offers only 50% efficiency with a system offering 95% efficiency, you can save more than $47 for every $100 in fuel costs! For you non-math majors, that’s a 47% savings on your energy bill!
Not as Effective System Control
Older heating systems don’t have the control options which are available on newer models. This lack of control can’t keep you as comfortable and can cost you more in energy use. It’s not just your old furnace that’s the problem; an outdated thermostat is a major control problem. If your system or thermostat has a simple “on/off” option, you should look into upgrading now. New technology, such as zoning, offers additional control over home comfort and energy use which older systems don’t.
Garrison and Garrison Heating and Air has been serving Madison County and the Tennessee Valley for more than 46 years. We are Madison County’s Most Trusted Heating and Air Company. For more information about replacing your home’s comfort system, email us at [email protected] or call us at 256-859-8500. We are a fully licensed and insured HVAC contractor.