Furnace Replacement or Just Repair? Guidelines to Help You Decide

March 4, 2014
Ross and Witmer

These guidelines can help you make a decision about when to replace your furnace, rather than limping along with high energy bills or continual repairs. Replacing the heating system is a major expense, and there are specific conditions to consider before making the choice.

Furnace Age

Any furnace system over 15 years old that requires a major repair is not likely to be worth investing in. Its energy efficiency is likely to be low, and over the long run, you’ll pay for the new heating system in lower heating bills.

System Functioning

If your system hasn’t given you many problems in the past and it’s been professionally maintained on a routine basis, it probably makes sense to go forward with a non-major repair. The HVAC contractor with whom you work can tell you if your energy bills are in line with your current equipment’s efficiency rating, known as AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency). Systems that are failing can use more energy, translating to higher utility bills. Running a furnace that is increasing its energy consumption for no apparent reason usually signals the need to replace.

Another sign that it’s time to replace the furnace if the equipment shows any sign of rust or cracking. Cracks in the heat exchanger and rust around the flue can indicate the potential for carbon monoxide and other gases to escape into your home. If this is the case, the HVAC contractor may have to legally shut down your equipment until it’s repaired or replaced. Repairing such problems is usually more costly than the equipment is worth.

Home Tenure

If you plan to move within the next year, you may be better off financially if you put off the replacement. Other buyers may want to install the system of their choice instead. If they select a qualifying replacement with a high AFUE rating, they may be able to qualify for an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) that offers some financial benefits.

To learn more about repairing or replacing your furnace, please contact us at Ross & Witmer, providing top-notch HVAC services for homeowners in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union and Charlotte since 1945.

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