While we should be on the good side of the cold season here in Charleston, you’ll most likely still have the need for a little extra warmth before the summertime heat hits.
If you have a well-maintained heating system, you should be in good shape when you fire up your furnace or heat pump.
Even with a well maintained system, though, there are definite warning signs that you should keep an eye out for that will let you know it’s time to replace your furnace or heat pump.
A noisy, clunky and/or unreliable heat are probably the most obvious signs that it’s time for you to start looking at replacement options.
The source of HVAC noises could be a lot of different things: loose blades, loose pipes, faulty motor mounts, et. al. The concern comes from the fact that the noise shouldn’t be existent in most cases and may lead to even greater issues if not resolved.
If you can hear your heating source running but it’s not working properly, again that’s an obvious tell-tale sign that your system is on its last legs. We’ll go into more detail below, but this “empty” operation could be costing you a lot of money on your monthly electric bills.
Even if you don’t hear any noticeable noises or have a consistent heating source, your system’s age will ultimately catch up with its good operation.
Just like any mechanical system or device, HVAC systems have definite lifespans — generally 12 – 15 years — and will no longer operate effecienty or effectively.
Generally your system will let you know that its time is almost up, with increasing service calls and the noisy operation mentioned above. However that may not always be the case, so make sure and take note of your system’s age to help you stay ahead and avoid any major breakdown.
As mentioned in the first point above, your monthly energy spending will generally go up the older your system gets — especially towards the end of your system’s lifespan when you get that “empty” operation. This is simply because system efficiency degrades over time.
As your system ages, unless you have an excellent maintenance plan your system will not operate at peak efficiency in its latter days.
Inefficient and/or ineffective operation means that your system is using more and more electricity to drive the same comfort results. That electricity consumption turns into greater and greater energy bills.
Newer furnace and heat pump systems can help pay for themselves quite quickly after you get your replacement. Many new, energy efficient systems can yield up to 62% reduction in energy spending in some circumstances.
Furnaces and heat pumps can show other signs of failure, but if you pay special attention to these points above you can save yourself a lot of hassle when the cold winter winds creep into your home.