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A common question asked by many Manassas, VA, homeowners is “when should I replace my furnace?” A simple way to answer that question is to assess the performance of your current furnace over the last winter. Did it keep you warm and comfortable regardless of the temperatures outside? Were your heating costs manageable? Was your home consistently and evenly warm with no drafty areas or cold rooms? The answers to these and other questions can help you decide when it’s time for furnace replacement.

How To Gauge Furnace Performance

Many homeowners set the furnace thermostat as low as possible during the winter to keep heating costs in check. While that makes sense financially, you should not have to feel cold indoors in order to pay your gas bill. If the only way to keep energy costs affordable is to set the thermostat very low, your furnace is probably inefficient. An efficient furnace will keep your indoor space comfortably warm without generating sky-high heating bills.

Poor Furnace Performance Indicators

Is your indoor air temperature not as warm as the thermostat setting? Does your furnace have trouble turning on and staying on? Is the system frequently cycling on and off? All of these conditions indicate performance problems.

Poor performance also includes abnormal noises. Although old furnaces are noisier than new ones, strange sounds like banging, squealing, whining or grinding mean you should call for heating repair ASAP.

Increasing utility bills indicate poor performance, especially when your furnace isn’t working like it used to. Higher-than-normal energy costs signal that your furnace is having to work harder and harder to produce the same amount of heat.

Do You Need Frequent Furnace Repair?

Have your furnace repairs been relatively simple and inexpensive, or have they been getting more and more costly over time? If heating repair bills are escalating, consider whether replacement might be cheaper in the long run than repairs that may or may not keep your furnace up and running for any length of time.

How Old Is Your Furnace?

Furnaces live for about 15 years, on average, but with regular maintenance, they can last for up to 30 years. If your furnace has been poorly maintained, it will not last as long as it should, and you will probably have to replace it sooner rather than later.

When To Shop For Furnace Replacement

If your furnace is getting older, using more and more energy to operate and needing regular repairs, it should probably be replaced soon. Shopping around for a good deal on a new furnace before your existing heater breaks down is a smart investment of time and energy. Pay special attention to the furnace efficiency ratings of any unit you are considering. A furnace with a high AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) can reduce your energy costs significantly while providing greater and more reliable indoor warmth.