The holiday season is a time to stay inside and enjoy the warmth of both your family and your home. This is why you should make sure that your heating system is working as it’s supposed to before having your family over for the holidays. Are you unsure whether to get a heating repair or replacement? This article is for you.
Life Expectancy Of A Heating System
It’s important to note that most modern electric heaters have a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years if they are properly maintained. On the other hand, a furnace’s life expectancy is around 15 to 25 years and heat pumps usually start to show degradation after 15 years. Those numbers may vary depending on how harsh the winters are in your area, what the heating system’s brand and model is, and if it was properly installed by a technician.
The rule of thumb is that if the system’s acting up and it’s already old, your best bet is likely to replace and install a brand new one. The time when it will be difficult to decide if it needs fixing or replacing is when it’s two to three years away from reaching its “old” age.
Now you know all those pieces of basic information, it’s important to know the signs of a failing heating system.
Increased Utility Bills
Did you know that approximately 42% of your electricity bill yearly goes to your electric heating system? And that’s with a modern heater- imagine the electricity usage of an old one!
A heater’s efficiency is determined by annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE. This is used to measure how much of your utility input (electric/gas) is converted into heat. For example, let’s say that your furnace has an AFUE of 80%. This means that 80% of the heat produced by the heater is actually used to heat your house.
Electric heaters have very high AFUE. Almost all the energy used is converted into usable heat. The issue with electric heaters, though, is that they cost more to run. Even with the high efficiency of electric furnaces, gas variants are still much cheaper.
As heaters age, their AFUE can decrease dramatically. Old heaters can have an AFUE of just 56%. That means a huge waste of money.
Unusual increases in your electricity or gas bills are signs of an aging and inefficient heating system. You definitely need to look into heating repairs or system replacement if you’ve noticed a significant increase in your gas or electricity bills.
However, if the heater is relatively new and your bill skyrockets, the first thing you should check is if the heater is still under warranty. If not, that’s the time to get heating repairs.
Sometimes, the lack of heating around your house isn’t due to the unit itself. Maybe you’ve noticed some spots in the house that are colder than they should be. Before getting your heater checked, you may want to take a look at your air ducts first.
If you experience uneven heating between rooms, air ducts may be the culprit. Wear and tear on your air ducts can lessen warm air moving throughout your house. An average of 20–30% of the heat produced by your furnace gets lost in your air ducts. This makes your furnace work harder to reach the desired temperature.
Regularly checking your air ducts for leaks can save you quite a bit of cash. Check any part of the air ducts you have access to. Keep an eye out for tears or holes that could be the likely cause of heat loss.
In an old system, your duct joints are most likely to be the source of a leak. Turning the blower fan in your furnace to the highest setting may help. After turning it on, head to your duct joints and feel around for leaks.
Carbon Monoxide Buildup
When a gas furnace burns fuel, it releases carbon monoxide (CO). This element is why your gas heater can’t run at 100% efficiency. The CO gets released through a chimney from flue pipes within the furnace. These pipes lead to a chimney which safely lets the carbon monoxide out of your home.
Carbon monoxide leaks are caused by a rupture in your heat exchanger. Heat exchangers transfer heat from your furnace to your home. It does this while also keeping carbon monoxide out of your air ducts. When there’s a breach in your heat exchanger, carbon monoxide freely flows throughout your home.
Carbon monoxide is no joke. In large concentrations, it could even lead to death. If family members are complaining about lightheadedness or nausea, check for carbon monoxide. Invest in a carbon monoxide monitor to check CO concentrations within your house.
If you suspect you have a carbon monoxide leak, get help immediately. It could save your family’s lives.
Get A New Heating System For The Holidays
You may be thinking “That’s an odd thing to wish for.” But sometimes, getting a new heating installation is the gift you didn’t know you wanted. As your heating system ages, maintenance becomes more and more frequent. In time, old parts get harder to find, and older units need more experienced technicians. All these factors contribute to more expensive maintenance.
Getting heating repairs is usually your best bet. But as your heating system ages, repairs and utility bills get more expensive. Sometimes the most economical option is to get a completely new heating installation. A new heater can serve as a great gift for the entire family!
Are You Ready For a New Heating System?
Call Stack Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric in Cleveland, Ohio! We are Cleveland’s experts on all types of heating systems and can perform HVAC inspections to locate the source of your cold spots. We want you to know that your family’s safety and comfort is our number one priority, as it always has been. We are taking all necessary precautions and following CDC guidelines to keep our customers and employees healthy. We’ve been serving the Cleveland area for over 40 years, and we’re not going anywhere. Give us a call at (440) 937-9134 or visit us on our website today and find out what we can do for you!