Today, heating systems power the vast majority of homes in the United States. There are various types of heaters made available in the market, depending on their usage and price point.
The heating technology works by passing air through a network of ducts located in the floors, walls, and ceilings. Furnaces or heaters can be powered by natural gas, oil, electricity, or a combination of the three. Natural gas systems are the most common and cost the least – up to 30% less than electric systems.
But like any other appliance, your heater may also fail at some point. The major question that lies here is whether you should repair the heater or replace it. In most cases, contacting a reputable HVAC service provider like Autumn Air is generally the best option for homeowners. That being said, we will explore this question in this article along with when is the right time to consider a repair or a replacement.
What makes heaters break down?
The first usage of a heating system goes back to 1200 BC, with the Romans being the first known civilization to adopt any form of warm-air heating system, known as a “hypocaust,” which circulated hot air through the walls and floors.
In modern times, heaters use advanced technology to simulate the same kind of heating through vents
When to choose between repairing and replacing your heater?
Is your room unevenly cooler or hotter? Older heaters usually lose their capacity to heat a whole house. This is an indicator that a repair or replacement is needed.
Corrosion or cracks
The metal in your furnace corrodes and cracks naturally as it ages. If you observe extensive rusting on your furnace, it’s probably the best visible indicator that it’s being pushed beyond its limitations.
If you are constantly having your heater repaired. It usually indicates that it is time for a new system.
You may notice your heater running louder than normal, or you may hear various bumps, rattles, creaks, or slamming sounds. This is a clear indication that you should consult a technician.
Heavy electricity bills
Nobody wants to pay more, so why should you? Definitely consider a repair or a replacement in such a scenario.
Should You Repair or Replace Your Broken Heater?
Repairing or replacing your heater requires considering multiple factors. Take note of these factors before deciding.
The costs of repairing a broken heater can be prohibitively expensive as it can take anywhere between $350-800 in labor charges. On the other hand, replacing a broken heater is comparatively cheaper as it merely requires purchasing a new unit and removing the old one.
If you decide to keep your broken heater in the house, there is an increased risk of fire due to excessive usage over time which would eventually lead to wear and tear and breakdowns. Replacing them with newer versions can reduce this risk substantially and also give you access to more energy-efficient models.
If your heater requires repairing every now and then, it may not be reliable for very long before breaking down. The cost of replacing a heater piece by piece is far higher than the cost of replacing a heater all at once. When you add up the labor costs for each component, the total cost might be exorbitant!
4. Age of the heater
A heating system’s lifespan is determined by a variety of factors, including how frequently you use it, the size of your house, the settings you enter into the thermostat, and even the quality of your air.
Most heaters are only designed to last 10 to 15 years. And post this period, you’ll be on the hook for any and all repairs, which may quickly pile up in an older system.
By this time, the performance of your heater will have deteriorated significantly, and your energy usage may be quite high. A new heater would be a simple and better option for you here.
5. Energy efficiency
The annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, is the most accurate approach to calculating the optimal efficiency of your heater. An AFUE rating is a percentage that indicates how well your heater converts fuel/electricity into energy. The greater the AFUE, the more energy efficient the heater.
While older fossil fuel furnaces and boiler systems had efficiencies ranging from 56% to 70%, modern heating systems can reach efficiencies of up to 98.5%, turning virtually all of the fuel or electricity into usable heat for your house.
Efficient heaters mean that your home can be heated with less energy, thereby reducing your energy bill, sometimes drastically.
What causes damage to heaters?
If you relied on inexperienced technicians to install the heater initially, the heater will most likely have a slew of issues as a result of the lousy job. Although expert technicians may occasionally overcome this with fixes, it is sometimes necessary to replace the entire heater.
Your heater, like your eyes and teeth, needs a routine checkup. If you put off routine maintenance for more than a year, your heater’s mechanisms will begin to wear down. Unless you participate in a regular maintenance program that includes an annual tune-up for your heater, you can expect frequent malfunctions and eventual full failures.
Cracks in the ducts let dirt and dust inside the cabinet, potentially damaging the components. The air pressure will also decline if the ductwork develops fractures, splits, or loose connections. This forces your heater to work harder, resulting in premature wear and aging.
Taking Steps to Maintain Your Heater in The Long Run
Experts at any professional HVAC company will analyze the best option for you and give you an estimate as per your requirements. If you’ve been having problems or recurring issues with your heater or heating system, it’s advised that you contact a local HVAC professional to examine your systems and determine the best course of action.