Your furnace is clunking and groaning, and--as crazy as this sounds — you're convinced it's actually hissing at you. The thought of replacing it is almost as scary as the weird sounds it's making, but don't worry just yet.
Experienced HVAC technicians can assess the situation and help you determine if you need a simple repair or an overall replacement. But if you do need to replace your furnace, does that mean you should also replace your AC? Find out all you need to know below!
Furnace Repair vs. Replace - How do I know?
Furnaces face normal wear-and-tear like any other appliance. Heating systems are complex and have many factors that contribute to their overall efficiency. Regular maintenance can help extend the life of your furnace for as long as possible.
There are several common problems that can be easily fixed, either on your own or with the assistance of an HVAC technician. Making these small repairs is far easier than replacing the whole unit. So before you panic, take a peek at these common issues:
- New filter. A dirty air filter is one of the most common causes of furnace problems. The filters become clogged and no longer allow air to flow freely, which puts more pressure on your fan motor. In addition to burning out the motor, this can cause an increase in energy bills. Filters should be changed once every two or three months.
- Check the thermostat. The furnace may not even be your real problem. Check the thermostat. Some run on batteries and you may not have noticed a low battery warning.
- Check the circuit breaker. If your furnace isn't turning on, take a look at the circuit breaker. Find the circuit for your furnace and make sure it's facing the same direction as all the rest. If it's not, flip it all the way off and then back on.
- Check the pilot light. Older furnaces will have a pilot light and if that light goes out, so does your furnace. If you are comfortable relighting it yourself, you can, but many people call a technician for a quick fix.
- When it's more than 15 years old. The average lifespan of a furnace is anywhere from 15-30 years. That doesn't mean that it will completely break down before reaching the 30-year mark, but you will notice that it may be less efficient. If you're spending more each year on repairs and you're past the 15-year point, it may be more cost-efficient to replace it. According to Consumer Reports, if you're spending more than 50% of the cost of a new unit for repairs, it's time to replace it (a handy tip that goes for any appliance in the house).
- When your energy bills keep getting higher. Furnaces have to work harder the older they get and the result of this is increased energy bills.
- When it's getting really noisy. A little noise from a furnace is to be expected, but any new, noticeably louder noises need to be checked out. Rattling, humming, popping, and screeching are all warning signs that something isn't right.
When is it Necessary to Replace Heating and Cooling Systems at the Same Time?
There is a lot of debate about whether you need to replace your heating and cooling systems at the same time. In general, it's a good idea to replace both systems at the same time. However, there are some circumstances in which it isn't necessary.
The heating and cooling systems have a lot of components that work together. Replacing the systems at the same time ensures that all the parts "match" and therefore both systems will run as efficiently as possible. When you replace one at a time, you might notice performance issues, especially if you are purchasing a high-efficiency air conditioner unit and trying to use it with an older furnace.
Another benefit of replacing both systems at the same time is the installation savings. You'll save a lot of money on installation costs if you do it all at once. While the cost of replacing them together may seem high, you'll save money down the road. You'll also have peace of mind knowing that you won't have to worry about HVAC problems for some time. There are several factors that will influence the installation cost, including the efficiency ratings, the sizes of the units, and the extra features you choose for each unit.
The only situation in which it isn't advisable to replace both systems at once is if either your furnace or AC is less than 10 years old. For example, maybe you just moved into a new house and the furnace is 10 years old and having issues, but the AC unit was just replaced 2 years ago. In this case, your AC is basically brand new and has many years left. It wouldn't make sense to replace it just because your furnace needs to be replaced.
Replacing your heating and cooling systems can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Our team at Ultimate Heating & Cooling is highly experienced and ready to help. We will assess your situation and find the best possible solution that will keep your home safe and comfortable for many years to come. Contact us today to learn more about our heating and cooling repair and installation services!