No matter what kind of equipment heats your home, one thing is certain: The more energy efficient the heating system is, the lower your utility bills will be. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the combination of a tight, well-insulated home, a properly maintained, high-efficiency heating system and reasonable thermostat settings can cut your heating bill in half.
If you’ve lived in your home for several years – and the heating system was in place when you bought the house – it may be hard for you to determine if you’ve gotten your money’s worth out of your current equipment. But consider this: Energy Star® recommends replacing a furnace or boiler that’s more than 15 years old (or a heat pump or air conditioner that’s more than 12 years old) with a new, high-efficiency unit.
Here are some other clues that it’s time to go shopping for a new heating system:
- Your heating bills are going up because the system is using more energy than in past years.
- The equipment needs to be repaired frequently – often for a different reason each time.
- Some of the rooms in your house are too hot or too cold, no matter how you adjust the airflow through the ducts.
- The system just doesn’t seem to be working properly, even after a recent service call.
- The air in your home is exceptionally dry during the heating months.
Unfortunately, you often can’t see what causes a heating system to waste energy. Beyond obvious clues such as a sagging duct that blows heated air into the basement, a noisy fan motor on a forced-air furnace or a leaking fuel line on a boiler, most of the energy-wasting problems will be hidden from view – so call a professional technician for an expert analysis.