When Should I Replace My Furnace?

When Should I Replace my Furnace?

Homeowners Often Ask When to Replace Their Furnace

Many homeowners take a break-fix approach to their furnaces, which means that they rarely think about these appliances until something goes wrong. They’re often surprised when their HVAC technicians recommend replacement over repair, and that leads us to a common question homeowners have: “When should I replace my furnace?”.

• Age Is an Important Factor

When a furnace was manufactured, and how long it has been heating your home, are factors that are going to shape the answer to “When should I replace my furnace?”. Manufacturing date matters because furnace technologies have advanced greatly over the years regarding efficiency and safety. Age matters because you should get at least 15 years out of a furnace and could get 20 or even 30 years with regular maintenance and a bit of luck.

• Energy Efficiency and Costs

How efficient a furnace is determines your cost to run it on a month-to-month basis. Even if you have an old furnace still chugging along, it can be better to replace it due to the long-term savings. Modern furnaces are much more efficient than units made even a decade ago, and you now have the option of high-efficiency models that have an AFUE rating of 90% or higher.

• Repair or Replace?

Many homeowners asking the question “When should I replace my furnace?”, are facing the decision of whether to repair or invest in a new unit. If the unit is younger than 15 years old, then it becomes a matter of your overall cost, which is the repair bill minus whatever is covered by the warranty. If the cost to you is 50% or more of a new installation, replacement is generally recommended. If the furnace is older than that, you should consider not only the cost but also the frequency of repairs. A relatively small repair may be worth it, but if you’re looking at hundreds and potentially more repairs down the line, replacement is typically the better choice.

• Signs You Should Replace Your Furnace

You should likely replace your furnace if the heat exchanger is cracked unless the unit is six years old or younger. Track your energy bills, as a sudden spike is often the first sign that an aging furnace is becoming inefficient. Other potential indications include unusual sounds and smells, uneven heating throughout the home, and a furnace that has to run for longer periods than it used to.