It’s already the second half of October, and Halloween decorations are all around. But as you enjoy the spooky fall festivities, it’s important to remember that winter is just around the corner. We don’t mean that you need to start pulling down those boxes of Christmas decorations just yet—you still have to get through Thanksgiving first!—but you should give some thought to whether you need a new heating installation this fall. If your current furnace or other residential heating system is near to the close of its useful service life, now is when you want the system replaced. You don’t want to rush to have it completed after the chill Pennsylvania winter has arrived!
Regular Maintenance Is the Time to Learn Your Heater’s Fate
No need to read tea leaves or other fortune-telling tricks to decide if your heater needs to retire this fall. All it takes is expertise from an HVAC contractor to inspect your furnace, boiler, heat pump, or other system and tell you how many more years of efficient and cost-effective life it has left. Those are two important considerations, since a heating system may continue to work for a few more years before suffering a catastrophic failure, forcing a replacement. But during those last few years, the heater might cost far too much to run and to keep repaired for it to be worth it.
When you schedule maintenance for the heater this autumn—and this is an annual necessity—you’ll have the opportunity to get a professional opinion on the system. Ask your technician if the heater is going to be worth keeping for another few seasons. If you have a trustworthy contractor (like us!), you’ll receive an honest answer.
The Age Tipping Point
You’re probably already asking about the general age when a system needs to be replaced. This is helpful information to know, although it varies depending on system type. Here are a few good rules of thumb of for when a heater is “too old”:
- Gas Furnace – 15 years
- Electric Furnace – 20 years
- Gas Boiler – 20 years
- Heat Pump – 10 to 15 years
Adjust the number down if the heater has only sporadically received pro maintenance. (This is one reason maintenance is something we stress!)
You can use a heating system’s age to make a calculation each time it needs a repair. Multiply the heating system’s age by the cost of the repair. If the number is greater than $5,000, it means the repair is probably too expensive. So if you’re paying more than $500 to fix a 10-year-old heat pump, the cost-effective route is to get a new heat pump. (In general, paying more than $500 for a repair isn’t a good idea.) You can also use this metric: if the cost of a repair is half the cost of a replacement, replacement is the better option.
Trust HVAC Professionals
Choosing to install a new heater is a major decision, and you won’t want to make it lightly. Our team will help you make the right decision and make it with confidence. We’re here to see you have the ideal home heating for many years to come—and that you have that heating before the winter weather arrives.