There are many maintenance issues that the responsible homeowner must be aware of to keep their house running safely and efficiently. One of the most important systems in the house to keep maintained is the furnace. Furnace filters need to be checked and replaced every 1-3 months to keep the furnace running smoothly. The filter itself can improve the home air quality tremendously when replaced regularly. However, even careful replacement of filters will be futile once the time has come for the furnace to be replaced. Several factors should be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not it is time for a new unit.
How Old is Your Furnace
The first place to start when deciding whether or not to replace your furnace is to determine just how old it really is. You can find this out by searching for the model number on the unit and researching online or perhaps you still have an owners manual laying around. If you know how old it is, this can help you know just how close to “retirement” your furnace may be. The average life of a modern furnace is about 20-30 years so if it is getting up there in years, it may be time to start shopping for a replacement.
Determining the Condition of Your Furnace
Other signs that your furnace needs to be replaced include:
humidity issues within your home
furnace cycling on and off throughout the day
uneven heating around the house
bills going up even though the usage didn’t change
strange noises or smells coming from the unit
visible signs or rust or cracking
If any or all of these signs are present in your furnace, it may be time to call an HVAC professional to take a look at it. There may be repairs left to do but when the cost to continue fixing outweighs the efficiency you could have in a new unit, it may be time to upgrade. The professional can use AFUE ratings to help determine efficiency. If it is below 80%, it may be time to replace your furnace with a highly efficient model. Rankings are by efficiency. Mid-efficiency furnaces have about 80% efficiency, high-efficiency furnaces reach about 90% efficiency and the ultra high-efficiency furnaces can provide up to 97% efficiency. This can make a huge difference in your monthly bill. According to the EPA, a new Energy Star gas furnace is 15% more efficient than a conventional gas furnace. This is better for your budget and the environment.
Replacing Your Furnace
If you have weighed your options and decided to invest in a new unit, be sure to research and get several estimates from reliable contractors. Make sure that the estimates include all important information in writing, including warranty information, permits and fees, removal and disposal of your old unit and all relevant information about your new furnace. Having all of this important information in writing will help you to make the best decision for you and your family’s needs. When you do get your new furnace replaced, be sure to keep up the maintenance that will keep it running at its best. Replacing the filters regularly and even investing in a better quality filter can keep both your furnace and your family healthy. Be sure to wear a dust mask when replacing filters to protect your lungs from wayward particles. Good quality filters help lessen the effects of allergens and improve overall air quality in your home.
Deciding whether or not to replace your furnace is an important and costly decision to make. The investment in a new energy efficient furnace should happen after a thorough assessment and research into the best choice for your home. In the long run, the savings often outweigh the initial investment.