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Is your heating system working too hard this winter?

In the winter your heating system runs longer and harder to keep up with the cold temperatures outside.  This winter has been particularly cold and some homeowners are finding that their heating system just doesn’t have the capacity to keep up with the demands of sustained cold weather. Your heating system’s inability to keep your home comfortable may be due to one of the following reasons; older equipment, undersized equipment, or lack of maintenance.

First, if your furnace or heat pump is near the end of its life cycle (furnace, approximately 18-20 years; heat pump, approximately 15 years) it may need to be replaced.  The inability to heat your home properly is one indication of equipment decline.  Higher utility bills and more frequent breakdowns and maintenance calls are other indications that your equipment needs replacement.

By replacing an older furnace or heat pump you will increase the comfort in your home as well as increase the efficiencies of your heating system.  The newer heating systems have much greater efficiencies than they did even 10 years ago.  What this means is that they use a lot less energy to produce the same amount of heat.  So if you replace an older system you will notice savings in your monthly utility bills immediately.

A second reason your system may not be heating your home effectively is that your system could be undersized for your home.  When you have a new heating system put into your home a professional HVAC technician should run a complete load calculation on your home.  This ensures that the heating system is sized correctly for your home.  If your system is undersized it will run constantly trying to heat space it does not have the capacity to heat.

Undersized heating systems run inefficiently. A system that is too small just cannot get the job done. Your equipment will run constantly, which will overtax your system and increase your energy consumption. The result is higher costs to heat your home. Your equipment will also experience more breakdowns and premature failure because your system is having to work so hard. On the other hand, properly sized equipment will last longer, provide greater comfort, reduce noise, and save homeowners money.

The last reason your system may be struggling in these cold temperatures could be due to a lack of regular maintenance.  If you know that your system has not been serviced in the past year now is the time to have it checked out.  Your heating system works harder and longer in the winter.  A system that is not maintained will not work as efficiently.  You will be throwing money away on higher utility bills without realizing the home comfort you should.

Don’t be left out in the cold this winter! If you notice that your heating system is running a lot and not keeping up with the demands of cold weather you should contact your HVAC technician.  Your system may be old and in need of replacement.  Your HVAC technician can advise you on just the right system to fit your needs.  If your system is not properly sized for your home a technician will also be able to advise you on what system will work best.  Don’t wait until it breaks down and you have to make a quick decision without the luxury of weighing all of your options.  (Hint: Also right now there are rebates from the Federal Government if you replace your equipment with high-efficiency Energy Star rated heating systems.)

And don’t forget if you haven’t serviced your heating system in the past year, call a technician today.  Like your car, your heating system needs regular safety inspections and tune-ups to keep up with your demands!


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