It is difficult for the average person to know if their heating system needs repair or replacement. One thing is certain. A cold winter night is not the right time to find out that your system should have been replaced. Use the following tips to make a decision about whether you should decide to replace your heating system this year.
If your electric or gas bill has suddenly gotten higher, it may be due to a less efficient heating system. Whether it is a furnace or an HVAC system, as it ages it will lose efficiency. The system will run longer to heat the home to the desired temperature resulting in higher utility costs. Check the efficiency rating. Older heating systems may only have from 56% to 70% AFUE or annual fuel utilization efficiency. Upgrading to a high-efficiency system such as 98.5% will keep your home warmer and reduce utility costs. A newer more efficient unit will pay for itself by reducing the amount being paid for utilities.
Depending on the age of your home, the heating system could be over 25 years old. The life expectancy of most are from 15 to 25 years. If your furnace has a pilot light, it is most likely more than 25 years old. The older the systems, the more likely they are to break down. It is best to upgrade an older heating system before it becomes necessary. The winter months are a busy time for heating installation and repair companies and you do not want to go without heat for an extended period of time.
Have you or any of your family member had unexplained symptoms that mimic the flu such as nausea, headaches, or burning eyes? These symptoms are also caused by carbon monoxide. Older heating systems can develop cracks in the heat exchanger due to expansion and contraction. They can also occur in newer furnaces that are not properly installed or maintained. Normally heat exchangers will last about 20 years but if any of these symptoms are being experienced, it is best not to take chances.
Gas furnaces with a burner fame that is yellow rather than blue can be an indication of the presence of carbon monoxide. Since this gas is colorless and odorless, it is important to know the signs as it can be fatal. There are other signs as well as the flu-like symptoms previously mentioned. There may be excess moisture on the walls, windows, or other surfaces that are cold. Flue pipes may have rust on them. There may be soot streaks around the furnace or no upward draft in the chimney. If you suspect the presence of carbon monoxide it is extremely important to leave the home quickly.
When heating systems get older they will sometimes begin making squealing, rattling, or banging noises. A properly operating system will run quietly. A squealing noise can be indicative of problems with the motor bearings. Banging or rattling could be a problem with the motor or the blower assembly. Loud rattling when the fan starts can possibly mean the motor is failing. Screeching noises are often compressor related. Any unusual noises can be a sign that the system needs replacing.
When you have had to replace parts in your heating system several times in a short period, you can easily spend almost as much as the cost of a new unit. Keeping an old system running is not only costly but it can be difficult to find the parts for older systems. When a system starts to need one part after another replaced it is likely that it is near the end of its life expectancy. It makes more sense to replace the system before it totally breaks down.
If you cannot seem to get the thermostat adjusted so that rooms are comfortable, your furnace can be the culprit. If some rooms feel very warm and others are chilly, the furnace may not be distributing the air correctly. If the heat in your home varies several degrees from room to room, it may be time for a new heating system.
Thermostats regulate the temperature in your home. When your heating systems kicks on and off for short periods, this is called short cycling. It can be caused by the heat exchanger overheating and causing the system to shut down. Short cycling will decrease the efficiency or your heating system and can be a sign that something is seriously wrong with your system.
Heating systems are a necessity. If you are you experiencing any of these problems it may be time to replace your old furnace. An energy-efficient heating system will save you money and help you to maintain a safe and healthy environment in your home.