If your heating system could talk, it would probably tell you how exhausted it is. Look beneath the surface of your furnace and you’ll most likely find an overheated machine, constantly gasping for fresh air. Heating an entire house is hard work, especially if your furnace is a few years old. Even the most powerful machines need to be replaced every so often. The occasional tune-up breathes new life into your heating system, but sometimes, there is no life left to live.
1. Repair Frequency
If you’re having repeated problems with your furnace, and you find that the problems are getting progressively worse, it’s probably time for a furnace replacement. Here are some specific furnace features to inspect.
Electrical failures in the system – If you already have a faulty furnace, the last thing you need are faultly connections. If electrical failures have become all too common with your furnace, they are not going to improve any time soon.
Ignition component failures – The igniter is the spark that “ignites” the gas into a flame. It triggers the entire heating process. If your igniter is incapable of giving off that initial spark, it’s a sign that your furnace should be cleaned and tuned-up.
Breaches in the heat exchanger – The heat exchanger transfers heat from the system. It has one of the most important jobs in a heating system, but if there is an undetected breach in your heat exchanger, it leads to very unsafe operating conditions.
2. Furnace Age
The average lifespan of a heating system is 12 years. If you’re pushing 10 years with your current furnace, time to step back and weigh your options. Would you rather spend money on furnace repair (at times substantial sums of money), and get maybe another year or so out of it? Or would you rather invest that money in a new furnace altogether and get 12 years out of it? If you have a 12 year old unit, and you’re spending $600-$900 in repairs, replacing the system just makes more financial sense. Contact HVAC professionals to discuss the repair costs vs. replacement cost of a heating system.
3. Utility Cost
Compare your heating bills from this year to last year. You might see random increases and decreases in cost, but the trick is to match costs with usage. Are you seeing an increase in cost even with steady usage? What about increases in cost and decrease in usage? This is a sure-fire example of an exhausted and overworked system. If your furnace is working harder than usual, taking longer than usual, to do the same job, it’s time to consider replacement.
Don’t let another winter pass by with a run-down heating system. Your system could very well be on its last breath, begging for the care it needs to provide you with sufficient heat. Take a couple hours out of your day this year and give your unit some in-depth attention. Maybe you have a couple more years of repair ahead of you, but it may be that a furnace replacement is your best bet.