When is it Time to Replace Your Furnace?

Many who are faced with the decision to make an expensive repair on their home furnace contemplate whether or not it’s time to replace rather than repair it. Here are some tips on how to make that decision.

1- Is your existing furnace at least 80% efficient? Older furnaces may have efficiencies as low as 60% and that means if the repair estimate approaches one-fourth the cost of a new furnace it may be time to replace it. Consider the furnace operating at near 60% efficiencies. Replacing this furnace with a 95% efficient model will save 35% on your heating bill. If you pay, on average, $1200 dollars a year to heat your home, the savings is about $420 dollars per year. Remember, each year utilities tend to go up so this number will increase over time.

Now factor in the repair estimate for your furnace. Lets say the repair will cost $650 dollars. At this level, you’re close to $1070 dollars toward a new furnace after the first year’s energy savings are figured in. Factoring yearly energy increases and this new furnace will most likely pay for itself within four years. This estimate is somewhat conservative since it doesn’t consider other expenses such as the potential for additional furnace repair bills.

2- Will your old furnace continue to be safe? This is an important question worth giving some time to, however, we should be careful about salesman who play to hard on this point. Many older furnaces will run just fine without any major safety concerns. The advantage of newer furnaces is that they have additional safety features built into their normal operation. Integrated circuit boards help monitor many aspects of the combustion process and will alert homeowners if problems are detected. Furnaces that are fairly old don’t have these features.

3- Reliability-how important is it for you to know your furnace has a good chance of working without problems? If reliability is important to you than consider replacing your furnace. There is a point when a vehicle has so many miles that it may not be worth rebuilding the engine. The point being, what happens to your pocket book if one year later $650 dollars is needed to repair an additional furnace component? Rebuilding an engine on an old car may be the right thing to do but remember there are other components to consider as well.

There are times in life when purchasing a new furnace is simply not a financial option. If this is the case make sure you communicate this to your heating and cooling company. You may find options available that you had not considered such as in house financing.