When should I upgrade my furnace? Our current oil system is over 20 years old and the efficiency ratings keep dropping – about 76%. Energy costs are rising and we’d like to do our part to help the environment and save money.
—Kathy C, Concord, MA
Deciding whether to upgrade a furnace should be based on furnace efficiency, the cost of fuel type, your budget and the capacity or heating load of your house which is dependent on square footage.
New furnaces capture up to 97% of the fuel’s energy so depending on your bill, you could be saving 20% or more. A new furnace costs around $3000 so your payback period could be very short. We also offer special financing with approved credit to help people upgrade. Combined with new energy rebates, purchasing a new furnace typically pays for itself in a matter of months.
One of our plumbing clients was in a similar situation with an old oil furnace that they kept getting serviced instead of upgrading. He decided to save some money as he was headed to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl to see the Patriots play the Giants in 2012. As he walked into the NFL Honors with a roomful of players, coaches and media people his phone rang. His wife was on the line to say the furnace had just cracked and black smoke was billowing into the house. Ouch! Everyone was okay but needless to say he wishes he had upgraded before the furnace died while he was away.
If your energy savings aren’t substantial enough for a short payback period another way to save money is to reduce the heating load by finding sources of waste. Ask your utility company to perform an energy audit. A specialist will come out and identify areas for inexpensive upgrades like new weatherstripping or insulation.
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