With the average furnace costing thousands of dollars once you factor in parts and installation, most homeowners consider their furnaces a costly investment. In that light, it makes sense to hold on to your heating system for as long as you can. At some point, however, the downsides of keeping your current furnace will eventually outweigh the benefits.
While your HVAC specialist can quickly tell you when to cut your losses, a quick self-assessment will also help you decide between a furnace repair and a complete replacement. If you’re at a crossroads when it comes to your furnace’s future, ask yourself the questions listed below.
Are Your Furnace Problems Minor or Major?
The severity of your furnace’s problems can easily tip the scales toward either repair or replacement. However, simple issues like a faulty thermostat or a clogged condensate drain often require little to no effort or investment to fix. You can even take the DIY route to fix minor problems like clogged air filters and vents at little to no cost.
However, when faced with a significant furnace problem, the time, effort, and cost of repair can sometimes exceed the cost and effort of a new heating system, even when you add labor and other miscellaneous expenses. If the repair cost exceeds a third of the cost of a new furnace, you’re better off replacing it.
Furnace problems that take a long time to fix or require extensive changes can make a complete replacement more worthwhile. However, some issues, such as a cracked heat exchanger, offer no other choice except to replace the furnace altogether.
How Long Have You had Your Furnace?
Today’s furnaces are robust enough to offer 20 to 30 years of reliable service. However, most manufacturers recommend turning an eye toward replacement at the 15-year mark. Continual wear and tear over a decade or more of service can make any furnace feel its age, which increases the frequency of repairs.
Consider the following if you have trouble deciding whether a repair or replacement is a good idea for your existing furnace:
- If your furnace is brand-new and already needs repair, consider replacing it under warranty as it may have defects that affect its operation.
- If your furnace is just a few years old, don’t worry about replacement. Your heating system has plenty of years of faithful service ahead of it.
- If your furnace is over 15 years old but only needs the occasional repair, consider your replacement options and make plans if repairs increase in frequency.
- If your furnace is over 15 years old and suffers from constant issues, then get ready for a complete furnace replacement.
Care and upkeep also play a role in a furnace’s long-term health and influence your decision to repair or replace it. A well-maintained furnace won’t need as many repairs as a neglected system, regardless of its age.
How Many Repairs Has It Had So Far?
Occasional repairs and quick preventative fixes are a fact of life for most furnaces. What’s unusual, however, is to keep your furnace on life support via frequent repairs. Unfortunately, funneling time and money to keep your current furnace in service quickly turns into a game of diminishing returns, with each repair offering less benefit and a shorter lease on life for your furnace.
Not only do the financial costs add up to nurse your furnace along steadily, but you also have to consider the personal cost. Instead of living in dread of the next breakdown or scrambling to cover yet another repair bill, you’ll rest easier and have greater peace of mind with a brand-new furnace.
Is Your Furnace Right for Your Home?
Recent home improvements can leave your furnace out-of-step with your home’s changing heating needs. New additions such as an extra room or an enlarged ceiling can add extra strain on your existing furnace, resulting in more wear, higher energy consumption, and shorter service life. Complete remodeling can change so many aspects of your home that a new system becomes a necessity.
Changing technology can also make your existing furnace outdated. Recent advances, including variable speed motors and modulating gas valves, help modern furnaces use less energy while maximizing heat output. Although you can retrofit these features on some existing furnaces, only a brand-new unit will make full, efficient use of the new tech.
If your furnace was oversized or undersized from the start, now is the time to choose a right-sized replacement. Modern methods like Manual J load calculation let HVAC specialists select and install furnaces based on precision on square footage, insulation levels, and other home data.
Whether you choose repairs or a complete furnace replacement, the experts at Derek Sawyer’s Smart Energy Heating & Air are ready to help. Let us tackle your Central Valley home’s furnace repairs or help you choose the right upgrades to keep your home cozy. Contact us today if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.