Does your home need a new heater? According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), the average life expectancy of a furnace ranges from 15 to 25 years. If you're ready to replace your older system, take a look at the questions to ask your HVAC contractor about furnaces and residential heating installation right now.
Should You Buy a Furnace—Or Another Type of Heater?
There isn't one universal heater that works in every home. Residential heating systems include a few different options. Natural gas and electric forced air furnaces are popular heating picks. As the name implies, these systems force heated air throughout the home. You will need air ducts and vents for this type of heater to work correctly. If you already have a forced-air setup, a similar (but newer) system is an easy installation option.
It is possible to install a forced-air furnace in a home without ducts. But you will need to pay extra and possibly renovate parts of your home to accommodate the air duct system. If your home has radiators, instead of ducts, you will need a boiler. This type of heating appliance uses heated water or steam to warm the interior space.
Homeowners who want to change their heating system without adding ducts or radiators may want to explore a ductless heat pump. This zoned heating option uses indoor air handlers and an outdoor condenser unit. Instead of a whole home or central system, a ductless heat pump allows you to warm individual spaces or rooms.
Is Now the Best Time to Buy and Install a Heater?
You've made a decision and chosen a new furnace, boiler, or heat pump. Now that you know which type of heater you want, you're ready to take the next step and invest in one model. Maybe you're not sure if now is the right time to buy or install a new heating system.
There is no universally accepted best or right time to install a heater. If your system doesn't heat your home, is worn beyond repair, costs more to use than it should, or has constant problems, now is the best time to invest in a heater. Residential heating systems won't get better with time. The longer you use a failing system, the less comfortable your home will become and the more money you'll spend on repairs and excessively high utility bills.
HVAC contractors work year-round. This means the heating and AC professional can help you to choose a new furnace (or other heating appliance) and install the system during any season.