Are you debating between calling your heating and cooling contractor to make yet another repair or giving in and replacing your old equipment? A clean, energy-efficient HVAC system will circulate fresh air throughout your home, help maintain good indoor air quality, and can reduce energy costs. It can also enhance your comfort by running more smoothly.
10 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Heating and Cooling System
Here are some signs to look for to help you decide whether it’s time to upgrade your heating and cooling system.
1. Old Age
If your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old or your air conditioner or heat pump is over ten years old, it’s probably time to upgrade. When your heating and air conditioning systems reach the end of their projected lifespans, they will start showing more of the signs we describe throughout this article, including decreased energy efficiency and frequent breakdowns.
2. Frequent Repairs
If your system requires frequent maintenance, repair bills can add up quickly. Parts wear down, and your system loses its efficiency as it ages. Instead of calling your HVAC company to fix the next thing that fails, consider putting that money towards a new, efficient, and robust system that will require few repairs and little maintenance for many years to come.
3. Loud or Strange Noises
If you hear a strange noise while running your furnace or air conditioning system, the problem could be simple to fix, such as a part that got loose and needs tightening. On the other hand, if your system is older, parts could be wearing out. If the parts aren’t replaceable or a significant portion of your system is malfunctioning, you may want to consider buying a new system.
4. Frequently Cycling On and Off or Constantly Running
If your system cycles on and off frequently and works harder than it should, it likely needs a good cleaning. If it seems like it needs to run continuously to keep your home at the desired temperature, this will raise your energy bills and could also be a sign that your system is inefficient and needs replacing.
5. Humidity Problems
If you have leaks in ductwork throughout your home or your equipment isn’t operating properly, you might experience humidity issues throughout the year. Your home could become overly dry in the winter and too humid in the summer.
6. Poor Indoor Air Quality
One of your HVAC system’s most important jobs is to keep your air clean and your home well ventilated. Over time, however, your equipment can collect dust and allergens that can be circulated throughout your home, especially if it’s not cleaned regularly. If debris builds up, it can pose a fire hazard and significantly reduce your system’s ability to operate efficiently. Excessive dust in your home could also be due to leaky ductwork. According to Energy Star, dirt and neglect are the leading causes of system failure.
7. Inconsistent Temperatures
If your system doesn’t heat or cool your home consistently and some rooms are much warmer or cooler than others, this is likely due to one of two problems. It could be that your HVAC system wasn’t installed properly and isn’t the correct size for your home. Alternatively, your system may be failing and unable to keep up with demands. Call a technician you trust to inspect your system and explain your options.
8. High Energy Costs
If your energy costs are higher than you know they should be, call an HVAC technician to inspect your system. If nothing is seriously wrong (other than your system getting old), or a repair is made, but your bills continue to rise, consider replacing your equipment. Your system is likely working harder than it used to in order to produce the same output.
9. Low Score on the Home Energy Yardstick
Energy Star’s Home Energy Yardstick is an online tool you can use to assess your home’s energy usage and see how it compares to similar homes. If you score below five, your energy use is above average, and a new HVAC system could probably save you money.
10. Air Conditioner Still Using R-22 Freon
R-22 is a refrigerant commonly used in air conditioners. Because it contributes to ozone depletion, the government began limiting its production and import in 2010 and started prohibiting it in 2020. You’re by no means required to update your system if it uses R-22, but keep in mind that it could become more costly to service your air conditioner in the future due to new limitations.
Change Furnace Filters Regularly to Extend HVAC Life
Your HVAC system’s filter plays a vital role in heating and cooling system maintenance. Furnace filters can affect your system’s efficiency and your home’s indoor air quality. Replacing your HVAC filter is necessary to keep your abode healthy and comfortable. Here we explain the top three reasons it's critical to replace your furnace filters regularly.
Indoor Air Quality
All air that passes through your HVAC system also passes through its filter. For this reason, the filter must be clean and in good condition. Dust, dander, or mold that makes its home on your HVAC filter will degrade your indoor air quality.
HVAC System Efficiency
Consider a coffee filter. Water can flow through smoothly when nothing is in it, but add a scoop or two of coffee grounds, and it slows the water down to a trickle. The same concept applies to your HVAC filter. When it's clean, air can pass through easily. A dirty furnace filter blocks the flow of air and reduces your system's efficiency.
If your HVAC system operates with ductwork, then keeping your filter clean is especially important. A dirty filter causes dust, dander, pollen, and other impurities to travel through your system and gather in the surrounding ductwork. While you can have your ducts cleaned, it’s far easier to eliminate the filth earlier in the process with a clean filter.
How Often Should I Change My Furnace Filter?
In most cases, you should replace your furnace filters every 30–60 days. Several factors can impact the lifespan of your HVAC filter, however. Keep these things to keep in mind as you determine whether it’s time to replace your filter.
If you live in an arid and dusty climate or have high pollen levels, you may need to change your filter more often. Higher levels of impurities in the air will cause your filter to get dirtier faster.
Susceptibility to Allergens
If you or someone in your family suffers from severe allergies, it’s wise to purchase filters with a high MERV rating, which indicates the filter’s effectiveness at eliminating airborne contaminants. Additionally, you may want to change the filter more often. This will help to maintain better air quality in your home and reduce allergen-induced irritation.
Dogs and cats add more dander into the mix of airborne pollutants in your home, which means your filter will be working harder. If you have several pets in your home, changing your filter more often will help keep your system running at full capacity.
HVAC Filter Quality
There are many different types of HVAC filters, and they vary in quality. If you’re using a cheap, thin filter, you will likely need to replace it more often than a thicker, pleated filter.
Consider a Programmable Thermostat
With a smart thermostat, you can preset your temperature preferences. In winter, you can reduce your energy bills by lowering the thermostat when you’re away from home or sleeping at night . In the summer, you can adjust the air conditioner to use less energy while you’re at work or on vacation. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 10% annually on heating and cooling by setting your thermostat back 7° to 10°F, eight hours a day.
Lennox thermostats have HD screens and a host of helpful features. Simply connect the smart thermostat to your smartphone, and you can adjust your home’s temperature from anywhere. The app will alert you if there’s a problem while you’re away.
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