Like every other home appliance, a heater has a lifespan. The typical heating system lasts an average lifespan of 15 years. As your unit ages and individual components start to wear down, your system will require more frequent repairs. At a certain point, it makes more sense to replace your unit, not only for more reliable comfort, but also for the lower operating costs. Here’s how to tell if your heating system needs to be replaced before this winter.
The Heater is Outdated
Do you know how old your furnace is? If not, prepare to do a little detective work. Here’s how to determine its age:
Find the metal or paper tag on the surface of the furnace. It should contain the serial number.
Depending on the manufacturer, you might be able to decipher the date of manufacture from the serial number. Use this helpful chart to decode it.
If that doesn’t work, look up the manufacturer online. The manufacturer might have a page on its website that lets you look up the model by serial number for access to a PDF of the manual.
If all else fails, you may have to call the manufacturer.
If you find that your heating system is between 15 and 20 years old, consider replacing it. Even the most well-maintained furnace will not perform well after 20 years.
Your Utility Bills Are Climbing
Heating accounts for approximately 29% of your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. If you’ve seen your heating costs climb in recent years, your aging furnace is likely to blame.
Replacing it with a modern, high-efficiency heating system will save you money in the long run. Some of today’s highest-performing models with the Energy Star label achieve an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) up to 98.5%. That means only 1.5% of the heat produced is wasted.
Compare that to some older systems that have an AFUE of 60 to 80% and you can clearly see the benefits of upgrading.
Your Rooms Are Still Cold
Probably one of the easiest signs of a malfunctioning furnace is whether or not it’s heating your home properly. A defective unit will have a difficult time circulating heat evenly throughout the home. If some rooms remain stubbornly cold, cranking the thermostat is not the answer. This only results in a more expensive energy bill.
Unusual Smells and Strange Noises
Some smells are normal for a heater or furnace that’s being used for the first time in the season. A slight burning smell could be the smell of dust burning off in unused heating vents. This smell should dissipate in about a day. If it doesn’t go away, you may want to contact a repair technician to take a look at your HVAC.
Just as you want to be aware of abnormal smells in your heater, you should also keep an ear out for strange noises. A well-maintained heater should operate quietly, which means any popping, banging, thumping, or squealing sounds should all raise a red flag. You can learn some of the possible causes for strange noises here, but be sure to contact a professional for repairs (especially when it comes to oil or gas-burning furnaces).
During the middle of winter, no one wants to be without a reliable heating source. If your unit is experiencing any of the problems we’ve discussed, it could be time for an upgrade. For questions about repairing your heater or installing a new unit, contact JSP Home Services at (845) 250-6470.