With proper maintenance, your gas furnace should last about 25 years, but if you’ve noticed your heating bills creeping up in the winter, you’ve probably started thinking about replacing it with a more efficient model. Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning has a wide selection of gas heaters to keep your home comfortable throughout the winter while keeping your utility bills low.
Consider replacing your heater if you’ve experienced any of the following:
- Your gas bills are up at least 10 percent from last year.
- Your home takes longer to warm up.
- You hear strange noises from the furnace.
- You’ve had to repair the furnace more than once in the past few years.
- Your furnace is more than 10 years old.
Whether your heater is simply growing less efficient over time or major components are starting to fail, continued use will only exacerbate these issues.
Old but Functional Furnaces
Even if your furnace is still doing an adequate job keeping your home warm, you may be able to slash hundreds off of your annual heating bill by upgrading to a new system. Old heaters typically feature energy efficiencies of about 75 percent. In other words, they convert 75 percent of the energy stored in natural gas into heat. We carry a number of units with energy efficiencies above 95 percent, and our most efficient model converts 97.4 percent of the energy stored in gas into heat.
If your system is more than 10 years old, a new system may cut your heating bill by up to 30 percent. It will heat your house more quickly, and you won’t have to bundle up inside when the outdoor temperature drops below freezing. Combined with a brand new thermostat, your new heating system will better maintain your indoor humidity levels, and you’ll avoid the dry air commonly associated with winter.
You’ll also be able to take advantage of numerous state and utility rebates by upgrading now, but homeowners who wait too long will miss out. Many of these incentive programs expire in 2014, and because of budget concerns, it’s unlikely that they’ll be renewed for another year.
Furnace Resale Value
Thinking about moving in the next year or two? A brand new furnace installation is a fantastic selling point that can add thousands to your home’s value. You’ll be able to wow potential buyers with low utility bills, but you’ll also save money in the meantime.
Most home buyers prefer heating and cooling equipment that is no more than 10 years old, and the newer the better. If your central heating system is only a year or two old, they’ll know that they won’t have to worry about repairing or replacing your furnace for years to come.
When Furnace Repairs Are Not Enough
Like an old car that gets you there most of the time, an aging heater won’t cause you any trouble on a day-to-day basis. However, it’s more likely to break down when you need it most, and you don’t want your home to lose heat when it’s below zero outside. You should replace your old system if you’ve had to repair it more than once in the past two years. Frequent repairs point to underlying issues that cannot be fixed, and while you can get your heater up and running each time, it will break down more frequently in the future.
Heaters and air conditioners alike tend to break during heat waves and cold snaps because they have to work overtime to keep your home comfortable. If your home needs a new HVAC system, sooner is better than later, and you’ll avoid freezing in your own home during a blizzard.
If you hear strange noises such as rattling emanating from the blower unit, your system might be in the early stages of breaking down. On the other hand, popping noises that start right after you turn on your heater and end after a few minutes are usually nothing to worry about — the ducts expand as hot air begins to flow through them. Popping is common in old and new furnace installations alike, but noises from the heater itself are far more troubling and should be inspected as soon as possible.
Have you started experiencing headaches, dizziness, or shortness of breath while inside? Try turning off your heater and throwing open a few windows. If the symptoms disappear after an hour or two, you may have a gas leak. Carbon monoxide poisoning is potentially fatal, so you’ll want to immediately shut off the gas line into your home and call the gas company. Your heater might not be the cause of the gas leak, but it’s still a possibility that needs to be ruled out.
Other warning signs are equally subtle. A strange odor could be caused by anything from mold spores to clogged drains, but a leaky heater might also be to blame. Your gas heater should have a stable blue flame, but if it’s yellow, your system likely needs a thorough cleaning. Dirt and dust pose a fire hazard, but the solution might be as simple as replacing dirty filters. Is your house constantly too hot or cold? Your thermostat might be malfunctioning.
If you notice any of these signs, contact Roberts Heating & Air Conditioning to schedule a furnace inspection.
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