Depending on where you live, your furnace may be the most vital household appliance during the winter months. It provides the warmth and comfort you need to remain protected and safe throughout the season. Because it is such an important and complex tool to keep your home comfortable and warm, that can also mean that it is pricey to fix and more expensive to replace totally. In some cases, depending on the age of the system it may even be more to run than new more efficient systems.
When is old too old?
According to Energy Star if a heat pump unit is older than 10 years then you should “Consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.”
For other heating systems like furnaces and boilers then that time frame is closer to 15 years.
If a professional HVAC technician has found a cracked heat exchanger in your existing equipment – take this very seriously. If this happens, the gasses in your heating system, such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide, could leak into your home, causing illness, or in extreme cases death. If enough combustible gas builds up in your home, it can lead to a furnace fire.
Higher AFUE (Annual Flue Utilization Efficiency)
If your current furnace is over 15 years old, it is probably not working as efficiently as it once did. If your electrical bill is higher than in previous years, it could be due to an old furnace. Installing a new furnace will help lower your home’s energy bills.
Older systems may operate around 65% AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency. AFUE is a measurement of the thermal efficiency of any combustion equipment such as a furnace, boiler, or water heater.
When a heating system has a 65% AFUE rating, it produces 65 BTUs of helpful heating for every 100 BTUs of natural gas or heating oil output. A high-efficiency or condensing gas furnace has AFUE ratings of over 90%. The energy savings can pay for the initial investment of new equipment in only a few years.
Get a professional opinion
Your local heating professionals will be able to tell you more about your specific system and if a new unit would benefit you the most. There can be many options that are best suited to your home’s heating needs.