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old furnace in basement

Should You Repair or Replace Your Furnace? 5 Questions to Help You Decide

old furnace in basement

Should You Repair or Replace Your Furnace? 5 Questions to Help You Decide

We get it all the time…the “R&R” question. Often when we talk about R&R, we usually mean Rest and Relaxation, but in the HVAC industry, that R&R question means “Repair” or “Replace,” and we get it a lot. Especially when winter sets in.

Buying a furnace is a big decision. No doubt about it. If you have to spend money, you want to spend it prudently.

Should you repair or replace your furnace?

Here are five questions to ask yourself that will help you make that decision.

First, and most importantly, is your furnace safe?

If your furnace is unsafe, the cost of replacing it is insignificant compared to the value of your life.

Did you know that every single year, more than 50,000 visits are made to emergency rooms at local hospitals because people have Carbon Monoxide poisoning? Each year, 400 deaths are recorded from this very preventable illness often caused by old, faulty furnaces and water heaters.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a clear, odorless, flammable, poisonous gas that is emitted into the air when a fuel like gasoline or propane is not burned up completely. If your furnace has a cracked combustion chamber, CO may be released into the air you breathe.

The best solution, of course, is to have a regular maintenance program, but you can always check these things for these symptoms of a major problem:

  • Look at your furnace burner flame. It should be burning blue. If it is burning yellow, it may mean there is a problem.
  • Is there rust on your pipes?
  • Do you see any soot around your furnace?
  • Have you noticed excess moisture on walls or windows?
  • Have you had any inexplicable headaches, nausea, or disorientation?

If so, call ServiceOne immediately. We can inspect your furnace and let you know if there’s a problem. If there is, we can definitely help you analyze the cost of repair versus the cost of a replacement system.

Second, how old is your furnace?

The average lifespan of a home furnace is typically 15-20 years. Some high-end systems may last up to 25 years. However, just like with cars and human bodies, the older the system, the more things break down from routine wear and tear.

The longer your old system runs, the more breakdowns it’s going to have.

The more breakdowns it has, the more costly your repairs bills become.

Most experts recommend that if the cost of a repair is more than 30-50% of the replacement cost, you’ll be better off replacing your system with a newer, more efficient one.

Third, is your furnace making noises or not keeping up with your thermostat?

If you hear strange rumblings and rattlings when your furnace kicks on, that’s a sign that something is wrong. No unit should sound like the growl of an angry dragon when it starts up.

If your furnace can’t seem to keep up with your heating demands, it’s telling you that it’s old or sick and that it’s not up to the job. Usually, an ailing furnace will also raise your utility bills because it’s working double-time trying to do something its aging parts can’t.

Think of it like a young-in-the-prime-of-life 20-year-old running a race against an older-worn-and-weathered 60-year-old.

If it’s a single part causing the anguish, it makes sense to replace that one part.

If it’s multiple small parts wearing out, it may make sense to replace the entire system.

Fourth, are you considering selling your home in the near future?

If you are thinking about selling your home, one of the best investments you can make is to update your furnace.

Buyers are afraid to buy homes with older heating and air conditioning systems. Who, after all, wants to finance a new house and then have to replace a major system within a year or two?

Having a new furnace may not increase the real-estate dollar value of the home…(think of it as standard equipment on a car,) but it will help increase the chance of a quick sale of your property, particularly if it’s a high-end, high-efficiency system.

Fifth, how long will you be in your present residence?

Believe it or not, we have a “furnace formula,” that will help you decide whether to repair or replace your furnace.

You have to figure out the cost of upgrading your system to a higher-efficiency system. Then you have to look at how much money you’ll save on heating costs per year and compare it to how many years it will take you to recoup your investment.

Most furnaces run about 80% efficiency. Many new models have a higher efficiency rating, and when you invest in a higher efficiency rating, your utility bills go down. The bonus factor to upgrading your furnace is that many local utility providers offer a $500 rebate when you do. 

If you plan to be in your house for an extended period of time, you will recoup your investment. (And you'll have guaranteed comfort!) The dividend is that after you've made back the money you invested, you'll reap the benefits of lower fuel bills every year thereafter.

If you know your time in your house is limited, you'll need to evaluate the repair option, but just keep Question #4 in mind. If you want to sell your house quickly, you may want to invest in that more efficient heating system.

ServiceOne Air Conditioning & Plumbing is here to help!

We NEVER try to make you buy something you don’t need. Believe me. I get it. Furnaces are both necessary and expensive. Even in Florida, we need heating at least part of the year.

ServiceOne will help you honestly assess the condition of your present system. We’ll look at its age, its condition. We’ll check the safety of it and talk to you about your long-term plans.

We have systems for every budget and financing options for everyone.

Call us for help with the decision about whether to repair or replace!

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