This year, make a commitment to better health, wellness, and energy savings with a new heating system from your local HVAC contractor. It’s a great time to upgrade your furnace or radiant heating system to something that operates more and more efficiently and effectively for better whole-home comfort.
Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Heating Replacement’
It creeps up quickly: first the slight change in the leaves, then the need to have an extra blanket at night. Soon we’ll be opening our windows during the day but closing them at night, and then after that, they’ll stay closed for a while. If you ended last heating season grateful that you no longer needed to heat your home because your heater was ready to fall apart, it is time to get going on that replacement system.
Boilers can be remarkably sturdy machines. Some well-maintained iron boilers have lasted over a century, and still see use in homes today. Despite their hardy natures, however, even boilers have a limit to their longevity. When that limit is reached, it pays to recognize the signs so that you can replace your boiler before it fails.
Rising Maintenance and Repair Costs
The easiest way to tell if your boiler is reaching the end of its life is by monitoring the cost of maintenance and repairs. If the cost of simple maintenance is significantly higher this year than it was the year before that, and the year before that, your boiler may be reaching the end of its life. The simple fact of the matter is that wear and tear is inevitable. No matter how well you maintain your boiler system, the years and decades of use will eventually cause parts to fail. This will happen more and more often, causing an increase in repair costs. Which brings us to our next point.
Frequency of Repairs
If you find yourself calling for boiler repair more and more frequently, especially within a relatively short period of time, you may need to replace your boiler. As mentioned above, wear and tear will become more and more pronounced on a system as it gets older. Since different parts tend to experience different levels of stress during normal operation, this can cause a waterfall effect. You may have just finished getting one part replaced when another one fails, and you have to start the whole process over again. This isn’t just annoying, it’s expensive. If it starts to seem like your boiler is in a constant state of disrepair, it’s time to replace it.
If you begin to experience cold spots or other signs of uneven heating, it’s a good sign of problems with your boiler. One or two occurrences isn’t necessarily a sign of a deteriorating boiler. When the noticeable decrease in heating becomes constant, however, that is a reliable indication of a failing boiler.
We’re now deep into winter in Pittsburgh, with below-freezing temperatures swirling outside. If you have an old heating system in your home that you think may be nearing the end of its service, it’s time to schedule a replacement so you will have the briefest possible interruption in your heating.
Finding the right system to replace your old one can present a bit of a puzzle, however. You should always contact a professional heating and cooling company to assist you with making the choice, and then let them handle the installation so it goes fast and without complications. Our NATE-certified technicians at Boehmer Heating & Cooling have extensive knowledge of the many types of systems available and will help you pick the right one for your heating replacement in Pittsburgh, PA.
Common choices for heating replacement
- Furnaces: Furnaces continue to be popular because they offer some of the highest levels of heating and they come in a variety of models that can fit almost any home. Furnaces can use different types of fuel (gas, electricity, propane), so there’s always a model that will work with your current power set-up. Furnaces do require ductwork, however.
- Boilers: Boilers use hydronic power—the circulation of heated water—to provide warmth. Boilers are energy-efficient, run quietly, and provide cleaner heating because they do not need to use ducts. Boilers also require few repair needs and have incredible longevity. Boilers can run off electricity, natural gas, or oil.
- Heat pumps: These systems are essentially air conditioners that can switch the direction they move heat so they bring heat indoors instead of moving it outdoors. The huge advantage of heat pumps is that you get an AC and heater in a single unit. Heat pumps use only a small amount of electricity to run and can provide tremendous savings during the winter. However, at very cold temperatures, they can begin to lose their heating effectiveness.
Find the best system for your home
Your home won’t have the same heating needs as another, so there is no “one size fits all” solution to getting the right heater for your home. The best way to discover the correct system for your house is to have home comfort experts perform a heat load calculation, which will measure the amount of heat required from a system to provide the temperature you want. The experts will then match you with the ideal heating system.
Boehmer Heating & Cooling has helped people stay warm since 1933. You can trust that we know how to locate the right heating replacement in Pittsburgh, PA to keep you comfortable all the way to spring.
We all dread an expensive repair in Pittsburgh, whether it is a car that needs a new transmission, a leaky roof that needs new shingles, or electrical wiring that has been chewed up by a wild animal. We often try and put bandages on things that we know should be replaced but we just can’t afford to replace them.
The same can be said about your home’s heating system. When your heat goes out or your home just doesn’t seem to be heating up to the setting on your thermostat, your first inclination is to check and see if it is running. Some people will put their hand over a heating vent to check for hot air while others may go into the basement or mechanical room to listen to hear if the furnace is running. Maybe there is a blockage in the ventilation system or a blown circuit breaker, two relatively easy fixes.
If the furnace isn’t working after checking the obvious symptoms, your next move is to call for service. Any qualified heating professional would be able to diagnose your problem and offer suggested repairs. Something relatively minor like a bad circuit board or blown fan motor are not real expensive repairs and are the best option versus replacing the furnace. And you may keep experiencing the same problem and getting the same repair work done – anything to avoid an expensive replacement.
But at some point the vicious cycle will come to an end. Your repair bills will begin to inch their way past the cost of replacing the furnace. You can only bandage a problem so long before it becomes “unfixable.” You may not want to pay an expensive replacement bill but consider the alternatives.
First is the obvious – it costs too much to keep repairing the furnace. Secondly, you never know when the furnace may break down and its failure to operate could have dangerous effects on the people in your home, especially if someone is sick. Third, your furnace may not be able to keep up with the heating demand due to lifestyle changes, i.e. an addition put on the house, carpeting removed and wood floors exposed, a new window, door, or skylight added, etc. Your old furnace may not have been designed to keep up with these changes and the repairs are only delaying the inevitable.
Ask yourself if everyone in your Pittsburgh home is comfortable during cold weather. If most answer no, it may be time to consider replacing that old furnace with a new, energy efficient model that uses today’s technology – and leaves a smaller carbon footprint – to keep up with the demand for heat, in any sized building or home. Your decision to replace your old heating system could be as simple as the need to use modern technology to solve your indoor comfort problems.
Maintaining Proper Ventilation for Combustion Systems
Anytime you maintain, retrofit, or replace a gas heating system in your Carnegie home you also need to be concerned with air quality. Combustion air is needed by all oil and gas heating systems to support the combustion process. This air is provided in some homes by unintentional air leaks, or by air ducts that connect to the outdoors. The combustion process creates several byproducts that are potentially hazardous to human health and can cause deterioration in your home. You can protect yourself from these hazards, as well as maintain energy efficiency, by ensuring that your chimney system functions properly and that your gas heating system is properly ventilated. In some cases, installing a sealed-combustion furnace can also help.
Properly functioning chimney systems will carry combustion byproducts out of the home. Therefore, chimney problems put you at risk of having these byproducts, such as carbon monoxide, spill into your home.
Most older gas furnaces have naturally drafting chimneys. The combustion gases exit the home through the chimney using only their buoyancy combined with the chimney’s height. Naturally drafting chimneys often have problems exhausting the combustion gases because of chimney blockage, wind or pressures inside the home that overcome the buoyancy of the gases.
Atmospheric, open-combustion furnaces, as well as fan-assisted furnaces, should be vented into masonry chimneys, metal double-wall chimneys, or another type of manufactured chimney. Masonry chimneys should have a fireclay, masonry liner or a retrofitted metal flue liner.
Many older chimneys have deteriorated liners or no liners at all and must be relined during furnace replacement. A chimney should be relined when any of the following changes are made to the combustion heating system:
When you replace an older furnace with a newer one that has an AFUE of 80% or more. These mid-efficiency appliances have a greater risk of depositing acidic condensation droplets in chimneys, and the chimneys must be prepared to handle this corrosive threat. The new chimney liner should be sized to accommodate both the new heating appliance and the combustion water heater by the installer.
When you replace an older furnace with a new 90+ AFUE appliance or a heat pump. In this case, the heating appliance will no longer vent into the old chimney, and the combustion water heater will now vent through an oversized chimney. This oversized chimney can lead to condensation and inadequate draft. The new chimney liner should be sized for the water heater alone, or the water heater in some cases can be vented directly through the wall.
Other Ventilation Concerns
Some fan-assisted, non-condensing furnaces, installed between 1987 and 1993, may be vented horizontally through high-temperature plastic vent pipe (not PVC pipe, which is safely used in condensing furnaces). This type of venting has been recalled and should be replaced by stainless steel vent pipe. If horizontal venting was used, an additional draft-inducing fan may be needed near the vent outlet to create adequate draft. Floor furnaces may have special venting problems because their vent connector exits the furnace close to the floor and may travel 10 to 30 feet before reaching a chimney. Check to see if this type of venting or the floor furnace itself needs replacement. If you smell gases, you have a venting problem that could affect your health. Contact your local utility or Carnegie heating contractor to have this venting problem repaired immediately.
Chimneys can be expensive to repair, and may help justify installing new heating equipment that won’t use the existing chimney.
Replacing your furnace in your Finleyville home is probably not something you want to think about. After all, a new furnace is a big investment and not something you probably have too much experience with. And sometimes having your current system fixed or tuned up is all you need to get your home heating situation back on track. But there are certain situations in which it makes more sense to just go ahead and get a new furnace rather than simply patching up the old one.
For instance, if you have to call for either minor or major repairs to your furnace on a regular basis, it’s probably time to consider investing in a replacement. All of those repairs cost money and chances are that the furnace you’re paying repeatedly to replace isn’t going to last that much longer anyway.
Rather than continuing to dump money into a furnace that just isn’t cutting it anymore, you’ll be better off making the investment in a new unit. The truth is, you’re going to have to do it sooner or later and by buying a new furnace now, you’re actually saving all of the money you would have spent on repairing the old one for another year or so.
Also, a furnace that requires such frequent repairs is probably not functioning all that efficiently either. When you replace it with a newer model, you won’t just save money on repairs. You’ll also likely notice a considerable savings on your monthly energy bills because of how much more efficient your new model is.
Even if you haven’t been repairing your furnace often, you may be able to notice some signs that the old unit isn’t quite up to the task anymore. If you’re suddenly having some significant humidity problems in your house or if your home isn’t being heated evenly, there’s a good chance your furnace is on its way out.
And, in fact, even if your furnace is functioning just fine but is more than 10 years old or so, it’s very likely you’d benefit by replacing it. That’s because the newer furnaces available now are so much more energy efficient than their predecessors that the savings you’ll incur monthly will quickly make up for the initial installation investment.
Of course, you don’t want to get rid of a good furnace if you don’t have to. But if your furnace is getting close to the end of its expected lifespan, you may very well benefit by putting out the money for a new one now so you can start saving right away on your monthly energy bills.