Listen to Your HVAC Specialist’s Advice for Caring for Your Heating System
You rely on your heating system to keep your home comfortable when the biting chill of winter spreads over you. Thankfully, most modern heating systems are quite reliable and efficient, especially if you provide the proper care and regular maintenance.
Many homeowners don’t know much about their home heating system, but it behooves them to understand at least the very basics of heating installation, heating repair, and heating maintenance.
What to Know About Heating Installation
The average lifespan of a whole-home heating system is between 10 and 14 years. While some last longer with regular maintenance, all systems eventually fail and require replacement.
When it’s time for a new heating system to be installed in your home, contact a few HVAC companies in your area. Ask each for an estimate for new equipment and heating installation, as well as when they could perform the work. Costs can vary by company, by equipment manufacturer, and by equipment quality. Factor in your budget when making your final decision.
When it’s time to perform the installation, the HVAC technician will remove your old equipment and install your new equipment. Depending on the size and complexity of your system and whether you need any modifications or improvements to your ductwork, this can take from a half-day to a couple of days to complete. Your technician will ensure your system is working properly by observing it running for a cycle. They’ll then take your old equipment with them when they leave, for recycling, unless you request that they don’t.
Replacing your heater typically costs between $2,500 and $6,246, although gas furnaces can cost about $10,000. The final cost ultimately depends on things like:
- Equipment efficiency (denoted as AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency)
- Equipment size (measured in BTUs, or British thermal units)
- Brand name (Lennox, Carrier, Trane, Ruud, Payne, Rheem, Amana, American Standard, etc.)
- Home size (square footage, layout, number of windows, ceiling height)
- Additional required repairs, such as added ductwork or plumbing
What to Know About Heating Repairs
Your heater may need repairs because it isn’t functioning like it should, it’s becoming less efficient, it’s making noise or odor, or simply won’t turn on at all. When you call an HVAC company to request a repair, you can expect the technician assigned to your home to evaluate your heating system to determine the cause of the issue and complete the repair on-the-spot, unless it requires special equipment.
When you have a concern about whether your heat is working properly, call to request residential heating repairs sooner rather than later. Putting it off can cause further damage to your equipment and result in larger repair bills or premature equipment replacement.
The national average cost of furnace repair is $295, but depending on the issue it can cost thousands. At some point, it is more affordable to completely replace the system, especially if it is aging anyway or has required frequent repairs.
What to Know About Heating Maintenance
To keep your heating system up and running, it’s important to perform regular maintenance. You can either do it yourself, or you can call a professional. Before you turn your heater on for the season, start your maintenance regimen, which should include:
- Cleaning the unit
- Adjusting controls in the heater
- Cleaning the burners
- Adjusting the combustion
- Lubricating parts to reduce friction
- Testing for combustion leaks
- Testing the blower
- Testing the safety shut-off response
- Checking the flue for venting
Aside from these tasks, you should be changing your air filter on your central heating system (if it requires one) once per month.
Regular maintenance can help you save money and improve the lifespan of your equipment, which is why it’s so important to do every year. Some HVAC companies offer service agreements for a low annual fee. These service agreements guarantee you two seasonal tune-ups per year and discounts on repairs, installation, and new equipment. Some HVAC companies prioritize their service agreement for customers when they need a repair, which is an added benefit when your heat won’t turn on – on the coldest night of the year.
On average, servicing a furnace costs between $50 and $300. Don’t let the cost persuade you to skip your maintenance, though. You’d never forgo an oil change or transmission fluid flush on your car. Think of your heating system in much the same way.
Always Ask a Professional
When in doubt about heating repairs or maintaining your home heating system, always talk to a professional. An HVAC system is the heart of your home, and it deserves the best possible care.