Ticks. Ticks. Ticks. Ticks. There are clocks ticking everywhere in your home. The refrigerator, the clothes dryer, the car in the garage, the light bulbs, the flooring - all appliances or materials aging slowly. Someday that lawnmower is going to go kapoot and it will be on a day when the grass is tall and you’re short on time. The heating system is no different. You likely won’t get a lot of warning, unless you’ve been having regular maintenance performed. It raises the questions: Should I replace a furnace before it crashes? What’s the return on investment for upgrading? And, how do I even know when it’s time to replace a furnace?
When the Return on Investment is in your favor
The potential energy and cost savings of a newer, more efficient furnace and the less frequent replacement costs look a lot more attractive than keeping an older unit alive. A furnace with 20-year-old technology is going to cost you more in energy costs, sometimes enough to justify an upgrade. Knowing when to replace a furnace largely depends on the financial benefit, and looking at the return on investment is a great place to start.
When the repairs become more frequent
If you are having HVAC professionals come to your home so much that you know their kids’ names or it feels weird not sending them a Christmas card, you might need a new system. It’s not temporary either. Those service calls are only going to become more frequent as the years go on. What’s more, let’s say you replace a blower. You now have a new blower, but the rest of your system is still 15 years old. You can hear the ticks ticking in your sleep. Some people like to use the Rule of 5,000 to calculate the efficacy of replacement. Take the age of the furnace and multiply it by the expense of repair and if that number is more than 5,000, then replace the unit. (Ex: If a 10-year-old unit needs a $550 repair, you have a value of $5,500. On average, it would not be a good investment and replacing the system would be advisable.)
When energy use becomes a concern
Between care for the environment and the basic desire to not be wasteful, often the motivation to replace a furnace outweighs the sacrifice. The average efficiency of units from 20 years ago have an 80 percent annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). Today’s units average around 94 percent. That means using a new system saves 14 percent of the energy that could be consumed unnecessarily.
When the furnace makes odd sounds or smells
Sometimes we smell dust or burning dust when a unit is starting for the first time after a while of sitting unused. Other than that, mysterious smells could indicate the system might be struggling or getting worn out. If a dirty filter is ruled out as a culprit, then definitely call Schnelle Heating & Air. The same goes with noises. Clanking, wobbling, screeching, and other sounds could be signals of distress by your furnace.
When your comfort level goes down
Extra dust can leave your furnace if burning is incomplete, which is an effect of aging. So, if there seems to be more dust in the air or accumulating around the house, have your system checked out. Uneven or inadequate warming signals that a unit is worn out as well. Healthy units have the umph to push air into the corners of your home, assuming there aren’t other causes for loss of airflow like obstructed or leaky ductwork.
Money, health, comfort, and responsibility all cause us to question if now is the right time to replace a furnace. If you would like to know more or have your HVAC system inspected for safety and efficiency, contact Schnelle Heating & Air. We have years of experience helping people not only stay warm but also save money and live safely. We would love a chance to do the same for you!