Is It Necessary to Replace Your Furnace and AC at the Same Time?

Is It Necessary to Replace Your Furnace and AC at the Same Time?

Even though Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air offers quality HVAC systems at reasonable prices, there’s no denying that buying a new HVAC system is a big investment. For that reason, we often field questions from homeowners in the Loomis, CA, area looking for ways to save money in the process. One question that comes up often is whether it’s necessary to replace both your furnace and AC at the same time. The answer to that question, though, depends on a variety of factors. To help you make the right choice, here’s how to tell if you need to replace your furnace and AC simultaneously.

When It Makes Sense to Replace Both Systems

The only time you must replace both your furnace and air conditioner is if both are non-functional or prohibitively expensive to repair. However, there are other situations where it will make sense to replace both systems at once.

When You Need to Resize Your HVAC

One reason that you might need to replace your furnace and AC at the same time is if your existing systems aren’t meeting your comfort needs. This can happen if your existing system is not the proper size for your living space. If this is the case, it makes sense to replace the furnace and AC at the same time since they likely both suffer from similar capacity problems.

Systems Beyond Expected Lifespan

On average, you can expect a central AC system to give you between 10 and 15 years of reliable service. However, a furnace should last you between 15 and 30 years. So, as an example, if your AC is 20 years old and your furnace is a similar age, it might make sense to replace them both. This is because, statistically, your AC is likely on its last legs. And while your furnace might still have some good years left, it’s certainly at an age when you can expect it to need more frequent repairs.

You Want an Efficiency Upgrade

Another reason why you might want to replace your furnace and AC at the same time is if you’re looking for a major efficiency upgrade. AC systems that are 10 or more years old are far less efficient than any replacement system. And furnaces have also come a long way, efficiency-wise, over the past decade. So, if you only replaced one of the two systems, you’d be leaving some major energy savings on the table.

You might want to replace your furnace and AC at the same time if you are upgrading to a heat pump system. A heat pump will provide ultra-efficient heating and cooling from a single unit, obviating the need for a separate furnace and AC.

Compatibility Issues

There are also some situations when you’d have no choice but to replace your furnace and AC at the same time. One is if there’s a compatibility issue between your new system and the one you hadn’t planned on replacing. For example, some modern central air conditioners use variable-speed blower motors to increase their energy efficiency and provide better comfort. However, your existing furnace might not be capable of controlling that blower motor. Since the two systems share a blower, this will force you to replace your furnace at the same time.

You Want Synchronized Warranties

Finally, you may want to replace your furnace and AC at the same time, so both will have simultaneous warranty coverage. When you have two systems installed at separate times, keeping track of which components remain under warranty and which don’t is quite a chore. Plus, it leaves room for confusion every time you need a repair on either system. By replacing both at the same time, you can enjoy synchronized warranty coverage for a hassle-free maintenance and repair experience.

When It’s Fine to Replace Each System Individually

There are multiple scenarios when it’s fine to replace your home’s furnace and AC at different times. Here are a few of them.

You Have Financial Constraints

Any way you look at it, buying a furnace and an AC and paying for their installation isn’t cheap. So, you might opt for a separate replacement of your furnace and AC to fit both within your household budget. However, you should know that replacing your systems separately will impose some restrictions upon you, such as having to choose a new furnace or AC that’s compatible with your existing equipment. Plus, you should also know that you will increase your total installation costs since it’s cheaper to replace both systems at once than separately due to labor expenses.

Your Furnace or AC Is Relatively New

You might also wish to replace your furnace or AC on its own if one of them is much newer than the other. For example, if a major mechanical breakdown forced you to replace your furnace sooner than you’d expected, it will not make much sense to scrap it. In that case, it will be a smarter decision to buy a new AC and leave the furnace alone.

Your Furnace Doesn’t See Much Use

Another reason you might want to replace your furnace and AC separately is if your furnace doesn’t see much use. Here in the Loomis area, we have mild winters. That means the furnaces in homes here typically don’t run as often or for as long as they would in a colder climate. As a result, it’s possible for a furnace installed here to stay in good working condition for longer than you might expect. By contrast, your AC sees higher than average use, leading to more wear and tear. However, it’s a good idea to have one of our expert HVAC technicians evaluate both your furnace and AC for you before you make any assumptions about their condition.

You Already Own an Efficient Furnace or AC

You may also want to replace your furnace or AC separately if one of them is already more efficient than the replacement system. This could happen if you chose to spend more on your last furnace or AC replacement to get a model that was more efficient than average. So, if your existing furnace was in good working order and had an AFUE rating of 90 or above, you probably wouldn’t want to replace it. Not when that efficiency places your furnace among the most efficient models on the market, even today.

Your Local Heating and Cooling Specialists

Whether you need a new furnace, AC, or both, Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air can help. We’ve served homeowners here since 1976 and have an unparalleled track record for quality workmanship and unbeatable customer service. We offer comprehensive HVAC services, including system installation, maintenance, and repair. That includes the latest in heat pump technology. Plus, we offer complete plumbing services, air quality solutions, boilers, thermostats, and more. So, whatever your home comfort needs are, you can count on us to meet them. If you need a new furnace or AC for your Loomis home, call the experts at Crystal Blue Plumbing Heating & Air today!

How to Clean Your Home’s Electric Furnace

How to Clean Your Home’s Electric Furnace

Here in Loomis, CA, electric furnaces are quite popular among homeowners. One reason is that they don’t depend on fossil fuels, and they pair well with renewable energy to trim your carbon footprint. For another, they’re among the cheapest types of residential heating systems to purchase and install. That makes them an excellent fit for any area with mild winters as we have here. However, maintaining an electric furnace isn’t at all like maintaining a gas-powered one. In particular, there are some important differences in how you’d clean each. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean your home’s electric furnace.

Start by Turning Off the Power

The first thing you must do before you can clean your electric furnace is to turn off its power. If your electric furnace has a power cord, you can unplug it to cut the power to the system. You can also do this by locating your electric furnace’s dedicated circuit breaker in your home’s electrical panel and switching it off. If your home’s circuit breakers aren’t clearly marked or you aren’t sure which breaker powers your furnace, don’t take chances. Call in an expert from Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air to handle the job for you.

Collect Your Cleaning Materials

If you want your electric furnace cleaning to proceed smoothly, you should gather all of the cleaning materials you’ll need before you get started. You will need the proper screwdriver to open your furnace. You will also need a vacuum with a hose attachment. Plus, you will want some clean towels, a soft-bristled brush, and a new air filter if your furnace’s filter isn’t washable. If you don’t have any of these items, don’t attempt to start cleaning without them. It will only force you to stop partway through the job or give your electric furnace a less-than-thorough cleaning.

Find Your Furnace’s Manual

Your electric furnace, like all of the other appliances in your home, should have come with a care and usage manual. Since each electric furnace will have slight design differences, you’ll need to find your manual to review its cleaning instructions before you begin. The manual will tell you how to access the parts of your furnace that need cleaning and tell you which parts to avoid so you don’t damage anything. If you can’t find your furnace’s manual and you’ve never had an HVAC expert instruct you on how to clean yours, you shouldn’t attempt the job. At the very least, have one of our HVAC professionals do it once for you so you can learn the process first.

Clean or Replace Your Air Filter

Once you’re ready to begin cleaning your electric furnace, you should start by cleaning or replacing its air filter. Most electric furnaces have an indicator light to tell you when their filter needs cleaning or replacement. If your furnace has a washable filter, you’ll need to remove it and clean it according to the manual’s instructions. It’s critical to make certain that the air filter dries completely before you reinstall it. If your furnace uses replaceable filters, you should instead remove and discard the existing filter and replace it with a brand-new one.

Clean Your Furnace’s Blower

Next, you’ll need to locate your electric furnace’s blower access door and remove it. Your manual should tell you how to do this. In most cases, the door will be easy to open since its purpose is to allow service access. If you have any trouble opening the access door, however, don’t force it. You don’t want to damage the door, or you might not be able to close it when you’re finished.

Once you have the blower door open, you’ll want to use the soft-bristled brush you’ve prepared to scrub each fan blade. This will loosen accumulated dirt and allow you to remove it. You can then use your vacuum’s hose attachment to clean the blower blades. You can repeat this process as many times as necessary to get all of the dirt out of the fan blades.

Wipe Down the Blower Motor

After you’ve finished cleaning the blower motor’s blades, you should use one of your clean towels to wipe down the blower motor itself. The object is to remove any dust or dirt that’s collected on the motor, to prevent it from working its way into the motor’s moving parts. You should never use any cleaning products or liquids to clean your blower motor. If you do, you could damage the motor and end up needing it replaced.

Inspect and Clean the Drive Belt

In most electric furnaces, the blower motor relies on a rubber belt to turn the fan’s blades. Just like the belts in your car, your furnace’s drive belt can get dirty, worn, or stretched out over time. So, you should examine the belt to see if it’s still snug and in good physical condition. If it is, you can wipe it down with another clean towel to get rid of any buildup of dirt on it. If the belt looks worn out, call Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air to have one of our HVAC technicians come out to replace it. That way, you won’t have to worry about the belt failing you on a chilly night.

Check to Make Sure Your Furnace Is Fully Dry

If you had to use any cleaning products on your blower’s fan blades or if you washed your electric furnace’s reusable filter, you must make sure every part of the furnace dries. Any moisture that made its way into your electric furnace could cause a short circuit that might damage it. Plus, it could pose an electrocution risk to you when you turn the power back on. So, if you used any liquids during the cleaning process, double-check that you’ve rid the system of all moisture. If you’re not sure, leave your furnace to dry for an extra hour or two before you replace the blower door and restore its power.

Restore the Power and Test

With your cleaning tasks done, the last thing you’ll need to do is turn your electric furnace’s power back on and make sure it’s working. After you plug the furnace back in or turn its circuit breaker back on, head over to your thermostat. Put it in heating mode and turn it up a few degrees to force the furnace to switch on. It should turn on without trouble and start producing heat. You shouldn’t detect any unusual smells or sounds as it does this. If you suspect a problem, you should turn your electric furnace off and cut its power again. Then, call Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air for help.

Your Local Electric Furnace Specialists

Of course, the easiest way to get your electric furnace cleaned is to let the experts from Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air do it for you. We’ve served the homeowners of Loomis, CA, and its surroundings for over 40 years. We offer complete HVAC services, including installation, repair, and maintenance, as well as comprehensive plumbing services, too. Plus, we offer indoor air quality services. Rely on us to take care of thermostats, ductless systems, heat pumps, and more. We even offer commercial services if you also own a business in the area.

So, next time you need your electric furnace cleaned in Loomis, CA, call Crystal Blue Plumbing, Heating & Air, and leave the rest to us!