When should I replace my HVAC unit?

As you get ready to turn on your furnace, you may assume it’s best to rely on the equipment until it breaks down for good. However, there are plenty of signs you should replace your HVAC unit other than a total breakdown. If you time it right, an HVAC replacement could start paying you back from day one. Here’s how to know when to replace your HVAC unit.

Age & Fuel Utilization Efficiency

A well-maintained furnace can serve you for nearly two decades. However, furnaces manufactured before 2000 are typically rated 80 Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) or less, meaning that only 80 percent of the fuel that goes into the system is converted into usable heat for your home.

Today, furnaces can achieve near-total efficiency with ratings of 96 AFUE or higher. If you replace your 80 AFUE furnace with a 96 AFUE model, you can expect about 20 percent lower heating bills effective immediately. These energy savings help the furnace pay for itself over the coming years.

Increasing Utility Costs

In addition to being lower-efficiency to begin with, your aging furnace experiences a significant drop in performance as it nears 15 or 20 years old. If you compare utility bills from the past few years, you’re bound to notice an increase in recent years. The rising cost of natural gas may not be the only thing to blame.

Increasing heating bills are also undoubtedly caused by your aging failing to perform even close to its AFUE rating. This means you’re paying more to heat your home than necessary.

Safety Concerns

Gas furnaces and other fuel-burning appliances produce carbon monoxide as a byproduct of incomplete combustion. When operating normally, your furnace vents a deadly gas outside and disperses into the air. If your house has an outdated HVAC unit with questionable venting safety, an upgrade could improve your peace of mind and ensure your family’s safety.

Home Comfort Problems

Older HVAC systems have a harder time circulating air properly, which could cause some rooms to become too warm while others never get warm enough. Installing a new furnace with more advanced features – and modifying the ductwork if needed – will improve these comfort problems so you can stop adjusting the thermostat constantly.

High Repair Costs

More frequent and expensive repairs indicate that your equipment could be on its last leg. Instead of pouring more money into repairing an aging unit, take recurrent breakdowns as a warning sign and put your money toward a replacement HVAC unit.

Odd Smells or Noises

These problems could mean something is very wrong with your furnace. A repair might get the unit up and running again, but if the cost is too high, these issues could signal the beginning of the end for your furnace.

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