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Heating Problems Seen in Older Homes Around Kinston, NC

Many older homes in Kinston, NC, face heating challenges. Although these homes offer a place with character and investment opportunities, their aging heating systems can present challenges to homeowners. Consider these six heating problems regularly seen in older homes and what you can do about them.

Insufficient Insulation

A major problem that many older homes face is insufficient insulation to keep the warm air inside. Insulation guidelines have evolved and insulation has gotten better over time. Further, many insulations degrade over time when exposed to moisture and damage from pests such as rodents.

The recommended minimum insulation in eastern North Carolina is R49. This translates to 16.25 inches of blown-in insulation or 14 inches of fiberglass batt insulation.

You’ll want to have a professional evaluate your insulation for damage first and clear any microbial or rodent damage. Sometimes, it’s easier to clean everything and start over. A professional evaluation will help you determine the best way to bring your insulation up to the recommended level.

Poor Air Quality

Indoor air quality refers to the volume of molecules floating in the air, from particulate matter and liquids to toxic gases. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside often contains two to five times more contaminants than outdoor air.

For older homes, this comes from a variety of sources. First, building materials and wall coverings are aging, leading to cracking and flaking. This releases particles into the air, including potentially hazardous things like lead and asbestos.

The first step to managing air quality is maintaining the recommended range of 30% to 50%. Next, keep an eye on your furnace filter, checking it monthly; plan to replace 1- and 2-inch filters every 30 to 90 days. Have lead and asbestos professionally removed and replace it with non-toxic alternatives.

Older Heating System

The average gas furnace will work effectively for 15 to 20 years with routine furnace maintenance. Older systems consume more energy and heat the house less effectively. Part of the cause is internal components working less effectively as they wear.

Further, there are better technologies and standards today than even 25 or 30 years ago. Older systems had less efficient technology than modern systems. This leaves you paying more to heat your home.

Leaky Ductwork

Some older HVAC systems use a series of ductwork to distribute heated air throughout your home. Depending on your home’s age, you may have ducts made from steel and aluminum or possibly fiberglass and asbestos. Because of its risk, you should have asbestos professionally removed and replaced with modern ducts.

Even steel and aluminum ducts will develop leaks over time, allowing conditioned air to escape. You may not necessarily need new ducts, but rather may simply need to have them sealed and insulated. A professional service technician can help you evaluate your ducts and how to reduce heat loss.

Inadequate Airflow

Another problem older homes face is having insufficient return or supply ducts. A central system depends on the air pressure created by these ducts to circulate heated air around your home. If it can’t develop the right amount of positive or negative air pressure, your home will heat unevenly.

First, make sure that each duct is open and free of obstructions; supply ducts should have at least 6 inches clear around and above them. Work with your HVAC provider to determine how much clearance your returns ducts require. Further, work with them to determine if you have the proper number of ducts and that they’re optimally placed.

Older Thermostat

Analog thermostats use bonded temperature-sensitive metal and require periodic calibrating. Further, these older thermostats are only expected to work accurately for roughly 10 years. Past this time, they may not initiate and terminate heating cycles at the proper time.

Upgrading to a digital thermostat will help even out your HVAC system’s performance. Further, it’ll give you options like thermostat programs that allow you to automatically adjust your home’s temperature throughout the day. This practice can save you both on your heating expenses and reduce wear on your system.

All of these issues can raise your heating expenses, cause more repairs and shorten your system’s service life. Call to schedule a furnace repair or replacement consultation with one of our experts at J & J Mechanical, Inc.

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