I know that my gas furnace is reaching the end of its lifespan.  The heating system is nearly twenty years old and starting to show its age.  Although I’ve kept up with annual, professional maintenance, the furnace is simply wearing out.  Every winter, I’m faced with several small repairs and the cost quickly adds up. The furnace no longer puts out as much heated air, and every winter, it’s necessary to raise the thermostat setting by several degrees.  This causes the heating unit to run nearly non stop, eating up a tremendous amount of energy and costing more and more to operate. The system only achieved an 89% AFUE rating when it was brand new, and it’s definitely lost efficiency over the years.  It is only a single stage model, which means that the heater either runs at maximum capacity or completely shuts off. Because it blasts heat until reaching the thermostat setting then quits, it creates very unpleasant temperature swings. This type of operation also causes issues with overly dry air in the house.  I’ve noticed that there’s a lot more dust floating around in the air and settling on surfaces. I’m forced to dust, mop and vacuum far more frequently, and I blame the furnace. I worry about air quality and safety risks. I’ve started researching brands and models of furnaces available on the market, and I’m shocked by how expensive these systems are.  However, newer models now achieve a 98% AFUE rating and offer adaptable speed technology. These heaters are able to adapt capacity anywhere between forty and one hundred percent and automatically adjust to provide only the necessary amount of heating. This allows the furnace to run at lower speeds for longer cycles, maximizing energy efficiency while maintaining a more even indoor temperature.  Modern heating systems also include advanced air filtration and safety features.