When to Replace Your Heater

Let’s say you’ve had your heater for a while, and it breaks down.  When an old heater is on its way out, replacing it with a newer, more efficient furnace can potentially save you a lot of money.

Maybe you’re wondering how you can tell when your heater is on its last leg, or even how long it will last when it’s clearly on its way out. Put your mind at ease and read on for the signs that a furnace replacement is on the horizon.

Factors to Consider:

Age. Most furnaces last about 10 to 15 years. However, that doesn’t mean your furnace will operate flawlessly up until its last day. The key to a long life for a furnace is regular maintenance and service.  Oftentimes, a furnace’s factory warranty requires regularly scheduled maintenance. Older furnaces also have lower efficiency ratings and cost you more money to heat than modern furnaces.  You can even use your furnace’s AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating to estimate how much money you’ll save in the long run with a new furnace.

Energy bills. If your energy bills are getting increasingly more expensive (and the increase is not due to inflation)—it’s could be time to think about a furnace replacement.  As a heater gets older, it loses efficiency and increases your heating bills.  A poorly maintained heater with an starting AFUE of 80% may be operating at 68% after 15 years.  Compare that to a new heater operating at 93% AFUE, and the decision to replace is a no brainer.  Replacing your heater helps the environment as well.  According to the Department of Energy, upgrading from a 56% AFUE heater to a new 90% AFUE heater will save 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions per year!

Repairs. As your heating system ages, it will require more repairs. If you’ve already invested in multiple, costly repairs—it’s probably time to give your wallet a break. There’s no sense in investing more money in a heating system that will break down soon anyway. The 50% rule is a popular method of determining whether to repair or replace your heater.  If the repair cost is greater than 50% of the cost to replace your heater, then you should replace it.

Noises. Are you hearing strange sounds coming from your furnace system? Furnace replacement is likely around the corner if you’re hearing banging and rattling throughout the day. There are many reasons your heater could be making noise.  Rattling could just be a loose panel that needs tightening, or it could indicate something more troubling like a blower that’s out of alignment.  Another common noise is squealing, which could mean the motor belt is slipping.  Regardless of the noise, it should be addressed immediately to see if you have a serious problem.

Comfort. Having to wear multiple layers of clothing and expend energy to keep your nose warm at home isn’t normal. Hiking up your thermostat won’t do much to compensate for an aging furnace and will likely drive energy bills up.  If you’re uncomfortable in your own home, you should replace the furnace with a new system—one that employs advanced features to ensure your comfort. Also, furnaces often aren’t properly installed in homes.  Make sure you carefully select the HVAC company who installs your heater to ensure it’s the right size for your home.  Read here for our tips on selecting the right HVAC company.

If you live in Philadelphia, Montgomery, or Bucks County and would like expert help navigating the complicated process of retiring your furnace and choosing a new heating system, contact the experts at HVAC Philly Heating and Air Conditioning. Call 215-725-6111 for a free estimate!


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