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Should You Repair or Replace Your Furnace?

Should You Repair or Replace Your Furnace?

Furnace Repair LynchburgIt happens eventually with every old furnace or heat pump, you wake up on a cold winter morning and find that there’s no heat and your home is freezing cold. The thermostat is working, but the furnace has quit. If you’re lucky, it will be a simple, inexpensive fix. However, if your furnace is getting old and requires more extensive repairs, you’ll need to decide whether replacing it with a newer, more efficient furnace is a better option than repairing the furnace again, hoping it will last through the rest of the winter.

How long does a gas furnace last?

According to the National Association of Home Builder’s survey, a gas furnace lasts an average of 15 to 20 years. Consider the age of the unit when deciding whether to repair or replace. At the time a furnace is installed, most technicians will mark down the date the equipment was installed. You can also check the manufacturer’s identification plate, which is usually on the inside of the door (be sure the unit is off and cool before checking inside). Record the model and serial number, then contact the manufacturer’s customer service number to obtain the date of manufacture.

How Much Will It Cost to Repair the Furnace?

As a rule of thumb, if the furnace is more than 10-12 years old and repairing it would cost a 1/3 or more of the cost of installing a new furnace, it may be more economical to replace the unit.

Comparing Energy Savings

With the cost of natural gas and propane increasing, it’s also important to consider the efficiency of your old furnace versus a newer unit. A standard measure of fuel efficiency is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency number (AFUE). AFUE measures the percentage of the fuel that’s converted to heat rather than being lost through inefficiency.

If the furnace is 15 or more years old, it’s likely rated around 70 AFUE. New furnaces will have an AFUE of at least 80%, which means you’ll burn 10% less fuel, saving 10% on your heating bill. High efficiency furnaces go as high a 95% AFUE , which could save you 25% on your heating bill.

Have questions about your furnace or heat pump? Call Hickey Plumbing, Air & Electrical. Our expert heating technicians can help evaluate your current system and recommend the best options for keeping your heating system working reliably and efficiently.