It is probably time to change your furnace if it is old and suffering frequent breakdowns or needs significant repairs. One thing you can look forward to is a new, efficient furnace that will likely reduce your heating bill, keep you consistently comfortable on cold winter nights, and control the efficiency of heating times during the day. If you need to replace your furnace, here are some tips to consider:
It is important to know if a fix will work or if you need to replace
There is a generalized “rule of thumb”: if your furnace is older than three-quarters of it’s life expectancy, the repairs may cost more than a third of the replacement cost, then it is an ideal time to replace your furnace. A study by the National Association of Homebuilders and Bank of America concluded that most furnaces have a life expectancy of 15 – 20 years; regular maintenance and a quality brand furnace may extend the life by 5 or 6 years. Consider the years your furnace has been active, how often you have maintained the furnace, and you will likely be able to conclude whether your furnace has a few years left, or not.
Are your ducts clear?
The furnace is the heart of the heating system, but the ducts are the veins and arteries that moves the heat throughout the house. The Energy Performance in Buildings Group concluded that inefficient ducts will likely reduce the efficiency of heat throughout the house; for many homes, a third of the heat escapes through the basement, crawlspace and attic. Mehl Mechanical can take steps to improve your duct work. We can help you assess your current insulation efficiency. Taping gaps and re-insulating your ducts would have a significant effect on the heating of your home. There are other options for improving the efficiency of your ducts and Mehl Mechanical will help you determine the ideal solution for your duct work.
The Math of Efficiency
Most furnaces have an 80% efficiency. This means that 20% of the energy is released out of the structure. There are furnaces whose efficiency can reach 98.5%. The efficiency rating is listed on the furnace as the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating. These highly efficient furnaces often carry an additional $1,000 – $2,000 increase to the cost, according to some industry insiders. The math of a price quote, for example, is: $2,000 annual heating costs, and increase of 15% from an 80% furnace would save you $300.00 per year. If the added cost to upgrade the efficiency of the furnace is $1,500.00, in five years, you will have a break even investment. When you add an additional 10 – 15 years, you will find a great return on your investment.
Monitor your heating requirements
In some instances, adding insulation can have a larger effect on your home’s temperature than by adding a highly-efficient furnace. To better determine whether or not adding insulation to your home will substantially improve efficiency, Mehl Mechanical suggests an energy audit. The investigating company could recommend some steps for improvement including: blowing insulation into the walls, attic-floor insulation, and/or spray foam along the top of the foundation walls. Some of these may require a contractor to implement.
Choosing where to start
At Mehl Mechanical, we believe that the cost-to-value of improving the heating of your home begins with the furnace. Mehl Mechanical services and installs nearly all of the industry-leading furnace manufacturers, including Trane furnaces. Give us a call to review your current furnace and heating ducts and determine the steps needed to make your home heat and cost efficient.