How Can You Tell You’ve Got a Heater That’s “Too Old?”

furnace-oldWhen the winter ends (don’t worry everyone, we’re getting there…), you’ll have an opportunity to make upgrades to your heating system. If you think your heater wasn’t performing as well as you expected it to during the winter, one possible solution is to have a brand-new heating system installed. Does that sound too extreme? It’s not if you have a heater that’s too old.

But what’s too old? It’s a good question, and we’ll give some answers—although the best way to get an informed answer is to call for residential heating services from HVAC professionals.

Furnace Age

The furnace is the most common type of central home heating system, so we’ll start by looking at it. A natural gas furnace can often last around 15 years, sometimes more. The 15-year point is what you should aim for by always scheduling regular maintenance for the system and having it repaired promptly whenever it malfunctions. Older than 15 years is when a replacement becomes a wise choice. The furnace may start to develop corrosion at this point because of years of the reaction between the combustion gas and the metal. It’s also more likely to begin to lose its energy efficiency. Over 15 years, the energy efficiency of other furnaces has improved, so making the change will start to pay for itself with lower energy bills.

An electric furnace can last a bit longer than a gas furnace—but they’re also less expensive to replace, so it’s easier to make a change after 15 years.

Boiler Age

Boiler systems don’t wear down at the same speed as furnaces because they have fewer moving parts. Corrosion is a concern, but boilers have many precautions in place to prevent this, and so long as you keep up with boiler maintenance, you may expect 20 years or more of service from your system. Keep a watch for any indications of corrosion, however, since when this starts it usually means the boiler has to be replaced.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump shouldn’t be kept longer than 15 years, and even around 10 years is when we recommend you consider having a replacement. Heat pumps put in twice the workload of other types of heating systems because they operate as both heaters and air conditioners—using the same components for both jobs. Once a heat pump is no longer under warranty, we recommend replacing it the next time it starts to malfunction and the repair cost is more than half the cost of a new one.

Call on Heating Professionals

You don’t want to make too hasty a decision about a home heating system. When you have doubts about the performance of your aging furnace, boiler, or heat pump, schedule an appointment with our HVAC technicians. They can give the heater a close examination and help you weigh various factors and costs. You’ll have a stronger idea of the best course for your heating system.

Wm. Henderson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. serves Delaware County & The Main Line, PA. Make an appointment about your heating system today.

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