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Repair or Replace: Furnace Edition

Deciding whether to repair or replace your furnace can be overwhelming, especially when all you really want is to be comfortable again. That’s why we’ve broken down this common dilemma into bite-size questions to make solving it easier.

Answering these four questions will help you determine whether repairing or replacing your furnace will offer you the best value.

1. How old is your furnace?

If your furnace is near the end of its lifespan, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money repairing it. According to the National Association of Home Builders, furnaces last about 15 to 20 years. If your furnace receives regular maintenance, it may last up to 30 years or more.

2. Is your furnace breaking down frequently?

As furnaces age, they tend to break down with increasing frequency. If your furnace is relatively old and needs repairs regularly, it might make sense to invest in a new unit. After all, those repairs costs can add up over time.

3. Is your furnace heating your home efficiently and effectively?

Even after a technician fixes your aging furnace, does it take a long time for your home to reach your desired temperature? Are your heating bills increasing year over year? If so, it’s highly likely that you’d benefit comfort-wise and cost-wise from a new, energy-efficient furnace.

4. How much is the cost of replacing vs. the cost of repairing?

Keeping the factors above in mind, also consider how much it will cost to repair your furnace versus how much it will cost to purchase a new furnace. Some repairs are significantly more expensive than others. For instance, what you would spend on a cracked heat exchanger would probably be wiser to spend toward a new furnace.

If you’re leaning toward replacing your furnace, remember that these factors will determine how much that replacement will cost:

  • Size: To heat your home as efficiently as possible, you need a unit that’s not too small or too big for your home.

  • Efficiency: Furnace efficiency is expressed in terms of AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. For instance, a furnace with an AFUE of up to 95% means that up to 95 cents of every $1 of heating expense heats your home. In other words, it wastes only 5% of the energy it uses.

  • Type: Furnaces come in single-stage, two-stage, and variable-capacity varieties. Because variable-capacity furnaces generally offer the best energy efficiency, they tend to cost more than the other types.

Due to these three factors, furnace costs can range anywhere from $500 to $6,000. That's why you should get a quote for a repair as well as a replacement when faced with a costly repair for an old furnace.

Once you have quotes for both, you can use this rule of thumb to help weigh your options:

  • If the repair cost is at least one-third of the cost of a new furnace, and if your furnace is two-thirds of the way through its lifespan, it’s probably best to replace rather than repair.

In need of a heating repair or replacement?

At Monarch Home Services, our HVAC technicians are dedicated to helping you find the best solution for your home and budget. Contact us online or by phone at (800) 830-9054, and don’t forget to check out our special offers!

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