Repair Or Replace Your Furnace - 3 Points To Consider

19 March 2015
 Categories: , Articles


It can be difficult to determine whether you should repair or replace your furnace. The cost of a new or refurbished heating unit is normally more than the cost of immediate repairs. However, there is no guarantee that the most recent repair will completely solve an issue with your heating unit. New issues might arise. Due to the difficulty associated with the decision to either repair or replace a furnace, a few things need to be taken into consideration. The age of the unit, the efficiency of the unit, and the repair history of the unit should be accounted for when you make your decision.

Is Your Furnace too Old?

Your furnace has an average lifespan that varies slightly between furnace types. A forced-air furnace has a typical life span of 15 - 20 years, while a radiator or baseboard furnace will normally last 13 - 21 years. These numbers are just generalizations, however. Your furnace may have a lot of life left in it by the time that it reaches its average life span, or it may die altogether several years before that point. 

The important thing to keep in mind when you consider the current age of your equipment is how it is performing. If it has needed few to no repairs, and a current repair issue is minor, there is no reason to replace the unit. However, if the repair will be costly, it may be best to replace it with a newer, more efficient model.

How Efficient is Your Furnace?

If you have a conventional furnace that needs repairs, it may be a good idea to replace it with an Energy Star compliant model. This is especially true if it has reached the 15 year mark in its lifespan. An energy star compliant furnace can be up to 15% more efficient than a modern conventional furnace. That might relate to a great efficiency increase when replacing an older unit that has begun to show its age. Further, by changing out a conventional model that is 10 years old or older for an energy star compliant model, you can save up to 20% on your heating bill.

While the average life expectancy for any furnace is lower, the actual operation capacity can be closer to 20 - 30 years. If it has begun to show signs of corrosion, or it is cycling between the on and off states more than it has before, then efficiency issues are beginning to show up.

Similar signs of inefficiency include spots in the home that are hotter or cooler than they should be, or your energy bill continually rises despite the fact that you are not using your furnace more than you normally do.  

Does Your Furnace Have a History of Frequent Repairs?

While the average lifespan of a furnace does come into play, the real indicator of your furnace's life expectancy is how often it has needed major repairs. If you frequently need to have your furnace repaired it will be a good idea to replace it, regardless of its age. This is especially true if it is still under warranty. 

There is a general belief that a furnace will require repair most frequently during the final two years of its life expectancy. That is a good indicator that your furnace is going to expire soon. However, there is another factor that many people overlook. Even if the repairs are minor, there may be a lengthy waiting period for repairs when you are using an older model furnace. The older a furnace is, the harder it is to find replacement parts. When you consider the frequency and cost of repairs, also add in the time that it takes for your HVAC repair professional to find the right parts for your furnace.

If parts are easy to locate and your repair history is minor, keep your furnace. If the parts take longer to locate than you can tolerate, and you need to repair the unit frequently, consider replacing it with the newest energy efficient model that you can afford. 

For more information, contact a local furnace replacement and repair company like HomeSmart From Xcel Energy