Repairing vs. Replacing Your Furnace

If you live in an area that sees cold temperatures during the late fall and winter season, then you already know just how crucial it is for your home’s heating system to work well. After all, your family depends heavily on this vital appliance to stay warm and toasty on even the chilliest of days.

Before the dead of winter arrives, it’s critical that you schedule a maintenance appointment for your home’s furnace to ensure that it’s in tip-top shape for the heating season ahead. However, what should you do if a problem is discovered during your tune-up appointment? Should you repair or replace your system? Also, if you noticed last heating season that your furnace didn’t seem to warm your home as well as it once did, you may be wondering if it could be a warning sign that you need to replace your unit before an untimely breakdown this season.

We have answers to these questions and many more when it comes to repairing vs. replacing your family’s furnace. Read on to learn more.

How old is your furnace?

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends replacing your home’s heating system if it’s more than 15 years of age. Your aging unit is no longer heating your home as efficiently as it once did. As a result, the unit could be using more energy than necessary to warm your family during fall and winter. In turn, this could lead to higher energy bills, frequent cycling on/off of your furnace to keep up with your heating needs, and expensive repairs due to excessive wear and tear from an inefficient system trying to keep up.

How much would the repairs cost for your furnace?

If your heating system tune-up uncovers a problem that requires a repair, you should weigh the cost of fixing the issue vs. replacing your furnace. A replacement furnace may cost in the range of $2,000–$6,000 depending on the brand, model, and type of replacement heating system you choose for your home. If a required repair is somewhere in this price range and the unit is getting close to the end of its usable efficient life, then it may be time to consider replacement.

Likewise, if the cost to fix the problem(s) with your furnace is less than the above-mentioned price range and you haven’t noticed any issues with high energy bills or a home that doesn’t feel as warm as it should, then your best option would be to repair the problem.

Have you seen any of these warning signs? Act immediately.

If you’ve noticed any of the following issues, they could be an indication of a cracked combustion chamber. In turn, this could cause dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas to be released into your family’s home:

  • Excessive condensation appears on windows and other surfaces in your home
  • Soot stains appear around the base of your furnace
  • Rust can be seen on your pipes or ducts
  • Burner flame is more of a yellow color instead of blue

Additionally, if you or another family member have experienced issues with severe fatigue, nausea, headaches, or random confusion/brain fog, this could be a warning sign that deadly amounts of CO gas are being released into the air by your furnace. In this situation, leave your home immediately and dial 911 for assistance.

Have you noticed frequent breakdowns?

If it seems as if your furnace has some type of issue that prevents it from warming your home efficiently or causes your heater to stop cycling on at all, then it may be time to consider replacement. When your furnace requires repair after repair, it’s draining your family’s savings, and this is money which could be applied toward purchasing a new furnace that won’t experience a myriad of problems.

Are you planning to move soon?

If your family plans to put your home on the market in the not-too-distant future, it may be best to replace your furnace. Potential buyers will see it as a “plus” when considering your home. After all, if you’ve already replaced the furnace, that’s one less thing that they will need to spend money on after moving in. Along with replacing your heating system, it may be wise to replace the home’s air conditioner at the same time.

Additional tips for homeowners

It’s best to consider repairing vs. replacing your furnace before the peak of the heating season. Right now, many manufacturers will offer special “deals” on new furnaces, and you may be able to get a replacement unit for a lower price than you would during the winter months.

If you choose to replace your heater, another advantage of doing it now would be that you’re more likely to get an appointment that works with your family’s busy schedule, and you won’t need to compete with customers calling the service provider for emergency assistance as could be the case in the middle of winter.