March is the month when winter officially ends, and in Southern California we can expect steady warm weather from here on with only occasional mild cool spells. You probably won’t need your central heating in Burbank, CA to run much more than a few days during March before it goes into its long mid-year hiatus.
As the spring weather settles in, it’s a good time to consider your home’s heating needs and the recent performance of its heating system. Do you need to make upgrades or replacements? What changes can you make during spring to ensure you have the best heating for next year? We’ll look into some of these heating considerations more below.
Think about the age of the heater
A problem for many Southern California residents when it comes to their central heating is that they don’t think about it too often. They’ll often let the same heating system stay in their house year after year when the heater should’ve already gotten replaced. Central heaters in Southern California tend to last longer than in much colder regions because they don’t do as much work. But they often miss out on regular maintenance as well, and that causes them to age faster.
In general, you can expect a gas furnace to run for about 15 years, an electric furnace for 20 years, and a heat pump/ductless system for between 10 to 15 years. If you’ve kept up with maintenance each year, you can expect your heater to last for a few years beyond these estimates. But make sure you know where your heater is at in its service life, as this will affect most other decisions you make about it.
Have you noticed a gradual decline in the heater’s performance?
This is another common trouble for Southern California heating systems: because they aren’t used as often, their owners will frequently tolerate a decline in heating capacity over the years without taking steps to correct it. Ask yourself how much you can depend on your heater. If you find that you have to run it longer or push the thermostat up higher, have technicians inspect it and see if it’s time to replace it. If you haven’t been scheduling maintenance, this decline is exactly what you should expect, so if your heater is still relatively new (10 years or younger), arrange for routine maintenance right away.
Check for rises in heating costs
You can expect some increase in the cost to heat your home over the years because of changes in energy prices. Your heating system will also slowly lose its energy efficiency as it ages. The heater’s decline shouldn’t be more than 5% over most of its service life if it has regular maintenance. If you’re seeing a steeper increase in your heating bills, the heater is probably telling you that it either needs a targeted repair or it needs to be replaced. Even though it’s almost the end of winter, don’t delay with scheduling any heating repair.
If you have other questions about your heating system and its future, call our technicians. We’ll help ensure you’re ready for the next winter season.
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