Is It Time to Replace My Heating System?

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A heating system is a significant investment for any homeowner – and like any investment you’ll need some guidance when it comes to making a decision about whether to repair or replace it.

Here are four key questions to ask about your heating system:

  1. How old is your current heating system? If your system is more than 10-12 years old, it’s nearing the point where it’s no longer cost-effective to repair it. A new furnace or boiler – especially one of today’s newest high efficiency models – will perform much better than one that has been running for over a decade, no matter how well it has been maintained.
  2. Are you satisfied with the current heating system’s level of performance? Is your heating system providing the comfort you need? Are your monthly bills steadily increasing year after year despite performing routine maintenance? If your furnace or boiler isn’t warming your house as quickly and effectively as it should – or if you can’t seem to get your house to a comfortable temperature no matter how hard you try – it may be time to replace it.
  3. Are you seeing signs of Carbon Monoxide (CO) buildup near your furnace? Some telltale signs of CO buildup include:
    • A yellow or flickering pilot light
    • Excessive moisture on windows, walls, or other surfaces
    • Water leaking from the base of your chimney, vent, or flue
    • Rust on the outside portion of your vent pipe
    • Streaks of soot around your furnace

    Carbon monoxide buildup can lead to serious health issues; if you see any of these signs, contact your HVAC contractor immediately.

  4. Is your furnace making noise? Clanking, rattling, or banging typically means your equipment is nearing the end of its life.

The bottom line in all these questions is this: would the upkeep of your old system be worth it – that is, how much is it going to cost you to repair your old furnace, and will you need to repair it again in the near future? The answer varies, but here’s a rule of thumb: if the cost to repair is 50 percent of the cost of a new furnace – no matter how old it is – you should replace it.

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