Is it Time For an Upgrade? How To Tell Your HVAC Units are Petering Out
No one can say for sure that your heating , cooling, and ventilation system is in need of an overhaul; no one except yourself. The fact remains, however, that a majority of homeowners have no idea that their systems are on the brink of collapse, and they’re wasting thousands of dollars every year running lemons for their home comfort. HVAC units, like everything in this world, become obsolete after a time.
So when’s the best time to upgrade?
If your furnace breaks down at an inopportune moment, you could be left in the cold. Or worse, you could be unleashing smog and dangerous gasses into your home.
How do you know the furnace is going?
- The average life span of a furnace is 16 to 20 years. If you’re approaching or pass this time frame on a replacement, be on the lookout.
- Compare your heating bill to previous years. Barring significant overuse, a jump in gas use can indicate severe inefficiencies in your unit.
- Are repairs taking longer? Your furnace usually needs repairs once every 2 years. If you notice your repair wait times are being put on hold to backorder old parts, it’s a good sign your furnace is hardly up with the times.
- Uneven heat. If some rooms are cold while others are too hot, your furnace is redistributing heat improperly. This could indicate fan or ventilation issues.
- Is your furnace making weird noises? The stranger or louder, the higher chance the furnace is about to undergo a catastrophic breakdown.
- Dry air or stuffiness. If your home feels like an old log cabin burning firewood, it means the furnace is unable to moisturize air, and that can be a serious mechanical issue.
- Is your burner flame yellow or flickering? A blue flame is normal. Anything less and you might be putting your family at risk of a carbon monoxide leak. Ontario Energy Group must stress, for your own safety, if you detect a carbon monoxide leak, you need to leave your home immediately and call a professional.
Your Water Heater
A broken water heater is at the very best a terrible inconvenience. And yet, except on the hottest days, you certainly can’t survive without a hot shower or bath. Furthermore, a broken water heater is a breeding ground for home damage and needless costs.
How do you know the water heater is going?
- Most modern water heaters last 9 to 12 years, but we report that many water heaters can have problems as little as 6 years in. They’re high-stress units, and leaks and damage are all the most damaging when they occur.
- Your tank is leaking. This is obvious to many that their tank is going, but not to everyone. Leaks in water tanks indicate corrosion in the interior, which means your water tank is already heavily degraded.
- Uneven or intermittent hot water. This is an earlier sign of corrosion, though not as easy to notice as a leak. If you notice your hot water is unreliable, get your tank inspected before it progresses to a full-on leak.
- Plastic builds up in your aerators. If you unscrew the aerator (the metal mesh on your faucet) and inspect it, sometimes you may find plastic particles. This means the dip tube in your tank is damaged.
- Low or no pressure from hot water. If you’re getting good flow from your cold water but not your hot, the tank is to blame.
Your Air Conditioner
Though for many of us, it’s too late in the season to get prompt service on our air conditioners, it’s still important to recognize that the air conditioner is our first line of defense against overwhelming summer heat.
How do you know your air conditioner is going?
- Air conditioners are designed to last up to 15 years, but past year 10 you need to be wary of any changes to comfort or efficiency in your home. Generally air conditioners service well until the end of their life, but they’re also getting more efficient faster than ever.
- If your AC’s SEER rating (a measure of efficiency) is 13 or below, you should replace. Higher efficiency units go up to SEER 21, and can save you immensely on power consumption.
- Your air conditioner uses Freon. Freon has been rapidly phased out for environmental reasons, but newer units also consume less power. It only makes sense to upgrade to eliminate your Freon consumption.
- Uneven cooling. Like with your furnace, uneven cooling of your home is a good sign the air conditioner is chugging along on its last legs.
- You electricity bills keep going up in the summer. ACs are primary consumers of power, so significant jumps in your costs are a good sign that it’s time for a change.
If you have any questions about inspecting your HVAC units for efficiency, or to arrange a replacement, we encourage you to use our Free In-Home Energy Estimate to help you along. When you spot the signs of inefficiency, you’ll know that replacements can go a long way in saving you money and improving comfort.