Here’s the tricky thing about replacing your furnace:
When the time comes, it most likely won’t be obvious.
Your furnace can appear to be operating decently for several months. In reality, it might be suffering from lowered efficiency, a tendency to break down more often, or other unseen issues.
When you do the math, you’ll find that keeping that old thing is contributing to hundreds of dollars in unneeded maintenance and repairs—replacement then becomes the economical choice.
So that begs the question: when should you repair, and when should you replace?
How Many Repairs Have You Had This Year?
Like any machine, an easy tell that it’s time for replacement comes in the form of more repairs. More repairs mean more problems, and that means more money spent on repairs! Repairs can’t simply be overlooked since that’s a major safety hazard, so you have no choice but to front that repair cost. Or do you?
If you find that this is the second or third repair call in the same year, and that your system is over 10 years old, then it could make sense to pass on the repair and just go for replacing the furnace entirely.
Of course, we’d recommend having a residential heating repair expert make that call for you. The line between repair and replacement can be a fine line that requires the eye of a professional.
How Has the Heating Bill Been Looking?
Another giveaway can be seen not in the furnace itself, but rather in the heating bill. This is where keeping tabs on your monthly heating bill can go a long way. A steadily rising bill—despite regular repairs and maintenance—would suggest that the system is no longer able to maintain its potential for efficiency.
If you find that your heating bill is larger this year than the previous year, we recommend having it evaluated to see if the problem isn’t something that can’t be fixed. If not, replacement is your best option.
How Old is the Furnace?
Furnaces can last between 10 and 15 years. You might even find people who claim theirs has lasted more than 20.
Age varies, so you can’t rely on an exact number to tell you if it’s time for a replacement. Instead, we recommend keeping an eye on your furnace once it hits the bottom range of life expectancy. The 10-year mark and onward is the point where you can begin keeping a closer eye on the system and researching your options for a new furnace.
Consider All of the Symptoms
On their own, the above symptoms can all be ambiguous factors in determining whether it’s time for a replacement. Instead of just relying on one symptom, the best approach would be to factor them all in together. Two or more symptoms observed together are a strong sign that your furnace is going to need some replacement.