Checking your furnace for wear and considering repair or replacement of a damaged system is one of the most crucial things you can do to get ready for the winter.
Knowing when to have your furnace maintained and whether to have your system fixed or replaced is frequently difficult. Although every circumstance is unique, this guide will assist you in learning the ideal time to service your furnace, potential issues, and whether to fix or replace your system in each case.
Before Winter, Have Your Furnace Serviced Or Replaced
You know how important it is to have a functioning furnace during the winter as a homeowner. An uncomfortable crisis can arise from a broken heating system on a chilly winter day. Nothing is worse than waking up in a chilly house, and vulnerable family members like children may even be in danger if the heat is lost.
There is no time to spend because this part of your house is very important. If at all feasible, determine whether to repair or replace your heater before winter has fully arrived. By attending to your furnace’s requirements this summer or fall before the cold weather arrives, you can guarantee your family’s comfort throughout the winter. The following are some potential advantages of an early repair or replacement.
- More time for research: If you decide to have your system repaired or replaced before the winter, you will have more time to look into your alternatives, compare models, and compare prices.
- Saving money: Repairing or replacing your furnace in the summer as opposed to a time when demand is strong may allow you to save money on components and labor.
- More time for budget planning: A furnace is a significant financial commitment for your home, so getting it fixed or replaced early gives you more time to look into financing possibilities.
Replacement vs. Repair
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether to keep your current furnace or replace it with a more efficient one, however there are no hard and fast laws. The decisions to repair or replace your furnace can be difficult no matter what time of year it is, so take into account the following situations as you decide whether to do so. Every scenario is different, and making a decision is never easy.
1. Carbon Monoxide Is Coming From Your Furnace.
Any system that can possibly expose you and your family to carbon monoxide should be replaced as soon as feasible, not just patched up. A furnace that has a fractured combustion chamber should always be changed right away since it allows carbon monoxide to enter your home.
Carbon monoxide, sometimes known as the silent killer, is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that, when ingested over a prolonged length of time, results in death. More than 2,200 people passed away from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning between 2010 and 2015. The winter months, when furnace use is at its peak, saw the greatest number of fatalities.
The following are some indications that your furnace may be producing carbon monoxide:
- Instead of blue, the furnace burner flame is yellow.
- too much moisture on the walls, windows, and other surfaces
- corrosion on pipes
- Soot streaks surrounding the furnace
- No upward draft exists in the chimney.
- nausea, headaches, disorientation, and other flu-like symptoms
You must leave your home as soon as you become aware of any of these symptoms, call the fire department, let your utility company know to shut off your gas, and get medical help as soon as you can. After that, speak with a heating expert to get your furnace replaced.
2. Your furnace was put in more than fifteen years ago.
Unfortunately, even the best heating systems eventually wear out. A furnace should last 15 to 30 years before needing to be replaced. The brand, furnace quality, and a number of other things all affect this, of course. However, throughout this time a heater will typically start to show significant indications of wear, which will result in more frequent and expensive repairs. It can be more cost-effective to replace the furnace with a more modern system rather than continuously keeping an eye out for repairs on an old system.
Your furnace may be too old to operate effectively if it hasn’t been maintained in a year or less and still requires expensive repairs. Like a car with a lot of miles on it, an old furnace may still function properly with simple repairs but won’t be able to meet your needs as effectively as a replacement. If it was just installed and hasn’t yet reached the end of its useful life, you should think about making repairs to extend its longevity.
Use the following criteria to determine whether it’s time to replace your furnace due to age:
- Repair: If the system is under 15 years old, it is frequently preferable to have it maintained as opposed to replacing it.
- Replace: Systems that are more than 15 years old are likely to require regular, costly maintenance and may need to be replaced.
3. Repairs are more than half as expensive as replacements.
Experts generally advise replacing your furnace when repair costs are greater than 50% of the cost of a replacement when comparing the price of a repair against a replacement. But if the cost of repairs exceeds one-third of the cost of a new furnace for an older heating system that has lived through 75% of its expected lifespan, you should think about doing so.
In general, the price of a new furnace ranges from $2,000 to $6,500, depending on the model and efficiency level. The following average prices can be a useful estimate when comparing the cost of a replacement even if actual replacement costs can vary depending on region, brand, warranties, and other features:
- Crude oil costs $2,800 for standard efficiency and $6,500 for high efficiency
- Gasoline: $4,600 for high efficiency, $2,100 for regular efficiency
- Electricity costs $2000 for low efficiency and $4400 for great efficiency.
Consider the following when determining the replacement’s worth:
- If the cost of repair would be less than 50% of the replacement cost, fix a newer furnace.
- If your furnace is older than three-quarters of its expected lifespan and a repair would cost about one-third as much as a replacement, you should replace it.
4. Your heating bill has increased, as you may have noticed.
Heating expenses vary from year to year as a result of variations in weather patterns, supply, and demand, just like gas for your automobile. While this may help to explain some of the fluctuation in your heating cost, you should still be on the lookout for any unusual monthly surges that correlate with furnace use.
Compare the price of the most recent heating season’s bills to those from past heating seasons. Recent heating bills may have changed significantly, which indicates that your furnace is probably using too much energy. It’s also time to have your system repaired if you’re still using it sparingly and can’t explain the increase.
Internal components start to deteriorate and operate less effectively as a heating system ages. These components begin to malfunction and struggle to meet the heating demands of your home and carry out the same tasks they once accomplished without difficulty. The furnace starts to use more energy as a result of the added strain required to meet demand, which has an impact on your account. Use the following criteria to decide whether to swap out worn-out components or set up a brand-new system in this situation:
- Repair: Have the inefficient parts fixed if your furnace is less than 15 years old and the cost of repairs is less than half that of a replacement.
- Replace: An old furnace is likely to need frequent maintenance and expensive heating bills. Consider replacing your furnace if it’s an old system that would need pricey repairs to stay efficient.
5. Your furnace appears to be less efficient than before.
Have you ever noticed how certain areas of your home are warmer than others? Do you believe that in order to maintain comfort in any given space, you must constantly run back and forth to change the thermostat? Does it feel humid or muggy outside? If so, they can indicate that the efficiency of your furnace is eroding.
Despite the same temperatures and family routine, if your furnace felt less powerful this year than it did in prior winters, it may be losing power or your home’s duct system may be too old to transfer heat evenly. It might be time for maintenance if the condition of the system has not improved after two heating seasons and there is no obvious reason why.
The age of the furnace and the cost of repairs might help you decide whether to repair or replace an inefficient system:
- Repair the problems that are causing lost productivity if the system is less than 15 years old and the cost of repairs doesn’t surpass 50% of the cost of replacement.
- Replace: In the event that your furnace is nearing the end of its anticipated lifespan, repairs could only offer a short-term solution to a problem that will only get worse with time. Think about updating outdated, inefficient systems.
6. The severity or frequency of repairs is increasing.
You can tell when an old furnace simply isn’t worth the expense of extra maintenance, just like with an old car. If you’ve had the same system for more than 15 years and it’s only required repairs a handful of times, but you now find yourself hiring a heating expert once every few months, your furnace is probably not worth the expense of maintenance. In the same way, if the cost of repairs keeps going up, you might want to think about getting a new heating system. Once a furnace has reached the end of its useful life, you may anticipate more extensive and frequent maintenance, which will put an unneeded pressure on your budget. Installing a brand-new system is frequently more economical than repairing an already damaged one.
However, if a newer furnace has frequent or significant malfunctions while still being well within the predicted lifespan, this may indicate that the issue is being misdiagnosed or improperly addressed. Consider contacting a separate heating expert to get a second perspective on the underlying problem if your system is newer and has had two or three repairs in the last couple of years.
When dealing with significant or frequent repairs, take into account the following options:
- Get a second opinion if your furnace needs recurrent repairs on a more recent system. Repair: Repair if your furnace needs basic maintenance like low airflow, water leaks, or thermostat repairs.
- Replace: For severe repairs like a broken heat exchanger or control module, replace your system entirely. You should also replace old systems that require a lot of upkeep.
7. Your furnace is making odd noises.
Most furnaces make noise when they are turned on or off, but if yours is starting to make louder and louder noises without warning, it may be time for a replacement furnace.
To explain the sound to a repair professional, pay attention to the type of noise you hear, such as rattling, popping, screeching, or buzzing, and the location from which it is emanating. Noises may be caused by a number of problems, including exposed ductwork, an imbalanced motor, motor failure, or worn-out components. The severity of each issue varies, making certain remedies more important than others.
When dealing with a noisy furnace, take into account the following:
- Repair: To keep a new system functional for the rest of its expected lifespan, it should ideally be fixed.
- Replace: Replacing the entire furnace will probably be more cost-effective if your system is over 15 years old and needs work done on aging components.
8. You’re planning to sell your house in the near future.
When weighing their alternatives, homebuyers seek the greatest potential investment and frequently base their choice on the abundance of advantageous characteristics of a certain property. Since furnaces are the most popular form of space heating in the United States, having a functional, efficient furnace is a necessity.
Although replacing your furnace is unlikely to raise the value of your house, it might still be extremely important for your ability to sell it. During the inspection procedure, it’s likely that an outdated heating system that has reached the end of its useful life will need to be replaced.
A new system may be an appealing investment for you and potential buyers of your house if your furnace has been operating poorly and you plan to sell your house in the next two or three years. In the first two or three years that you live in your home, you can benefit from a more efficient heating system and lower heating costs. Additionally, if you decide to sell your house, a recently installed furnace will appeal to potential buyers by guaranteeing them that they won’t need to repair the system for years.
When deciding whether to fix or replace your system before a move, take into account these options:
- Repair: If property values in your area are low, it can be more cost-effective to make quick fixes that will keep your system up and running and allow you to stay in your existing house for the foreseeable future.
- Replace: To please customers and pass inspection, an obsolete system needs to be updated.
9. You’ve retired or soon will retire.
The purchase of a new furnace can be profitable if you’re close to retiring. You may enjoy the comfort, efficiency, and cost savings of your new furnace for years to come without worrying about system failure when you replace your old heating system as you get closer to retirement. You might never have to replace your system again.
In addition to making your home more comfortable, an effective heat source is increasingly important for your health as you become older. The National Institute on Aging claims that simply being in a cold house can cause older people to have hypothermia symptoms. Installing a new furnace that will keep your home warm with the highest level of efficiency is the greatest option to prevent putting a strain on your health or the safety of elderly family members.
- If you have a more recent or high-efficiency system that isn’t nearing the end of its useful life, make repairs as needed.
- If you or an elderly loved one have a history of diseases, think about replacing an old furnace with a more energy-efficient model.