Your furnace may be firing on all cylinders now, but there may come a day when it won’t be. And on that day, you’ll be faced with an important question: Do I repair, or replace?
It’s not a question that has a simple answer. Consider these factors when deciding to repair or replace an existing furnace.
Furnaces typically last for 15 to 20 years, so start by trying to determine the date your unit was installed. Your technician may have written the date of installation directly on the furnace.
If you can’t find that, wait until the unit is turned off and cooled down and look for a metal identification plate, which is usually on the inside chamber door. Get the model and serial number from the plate, and contact the manufacturer to get the date your furnace was made.
When you replace aging equipment, you’ll be able to take advantage of features that weren’t available when you installed your system. But keep in mind that your furnace doesn’t automatically need to be replaced as soon as it gets to the 25-year mark. The 15-20-year figure we quoted is an average, meaning some systems are still going strong after that date.
2. The Cost of Replacement vs. Repairs
The national average cost of a new furnace is around $4,000, with most homeowners spending between $2,500 and $5,800.
When weighing whether to replace an existing furnace or opt for furnace repair, ask these two cost-related questions:
- Has the furnace exceeded more than ¾ of its life expectancy?
- Will repairs cost more than a third of what it would cost to get a new furnace?
That means if you’ve had your heating system for 18 years, it’s not worth spending $900 on furnace repair when a replacement would cost you $2,500.
If you’re like most consumers, you’re concerned about high fuel costs and having an environmentally-friendly home. That’s why you should consider the efficiency of your furnace.
Your furnace has what’s known as the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency number, which tracks the percentage of fuel that’s turned into heat.
Older systems – 20 years or more – will usually have an AFUE number around 70 percent. Today’s minimum AFUE is 80 percent, meaning that you’d save 10 percent on your heating bill if you made the switch from a 70 percent unit to a new model.
Higher efficiency will, of course, cost you more in the short term, but can save you in the long term on your heating bill. You may also be eligible for tax credits and manufacturer’s rebates for installing an efficient heating system.
If the problem with your furnace has moved from “inconvenience” to “safety hazard,” then replacement may be your only option. Problems such as a cracked heat exchanger – the metal barrier between the fuel and the air being heated – can send deadly carbon monoxide into your home.
If you're weighing how much it will cost to fix your furnace, All Seasons Comfort Control can help. For more than 15 years, our family-owned business has worked with customers in the Bucks County to provide the best in heating and cooling service.
Contact us today to learn how we can make your home a warmer place this winter.