Do you get a little nervous when your favorite meteorologist is predicting an Arctic blast for the Great Lakes region? Is it because you know the furnace in your Illinois or Northwest Indiana home is no longer up to the challenge of a winter cold snap? Maybe your heating system is breaking down repeatedly? Those are two good reasons to consider a heating replacement. The good news is a new furnace will likely be a high-efficiency model, which will cut your heating bills and make your home more comfortable on those cold winter nights. Merts Heating & Air Conditioning wants you to understand all factors when considering a heating system replacement.
Repair vs replace
Understandably, this is a tough decision. Here’s one guideline Merts uses. If your current furnace is beyond three-fourths of its life expectancy AND the repair is going to cost more than a third of what a new furnace would cost, THEN a heating replacement is the best choice. The average lifespan is 15-20 years so if your furnace is 12-15 years old you are in that replacement range.
Understand the math of efficiency
Higher efficiency furnaces will cost more upfront, but they can still end up being a better deal. The standard furnace efficiency today is 80%. Depending on how old your current furnace is, it may be only 60 or 70 percent efficient. Today’s high-efficiency furnaces can have an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating as high as 98%. Let’s keep the numbers simple for the purposes of this example. If your annual fuel cost is $2,000 a year, and you change from an 80% efficient furnace to 95%, you will save $300 a year. If the high-efficiency furnace costs $1,500 more up front, your heating replacement will pay for itself in five years and make you a profit for the next eight to ten years. That is a good return on investment.
Don’t forget about the ductwork
It’s important to remember a heating replacement isn’t only about the furnace. Your home’s ductwork can be a big energy waster. In many situations, heated air is escaping into an unheated attic, crawlspace, or basement, wasting up to a third of your conditioned air. Merts will always check the ducts, improve or replace the insulation, and fix any gaps or leaks. This can offer just as much of a return on investment as the high-efficiency furnace itself.
Reduce your home’s heating demand
One way to do this is with an energy audit. It’s a good idea to have one done as part of a heating replacement. You may find your Illinois or Northwest Indiana home needs drastic improvement in your attic and wall insulation. If your home has substandard insulation, you might be able to cut your heating demand by 20% or more. Even modest insulation upgrades can save five percent.
Call us first
Whatever questions you might have about a heating replacement, make the first call to Merts Heating & Air Conditioning to schedule a no-obligation estimate. There’s always more great information available through our social media accounts. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.