Natural Gas Furnace

Furnace Repair vs. Replacement: Tips When Weighing Your Options

Due to one reason or the other, HVAC equipment develops some faults and problems that impede on the efficiency and convenience of heating and cooling systems. When this happens, you may find yourself in a self-debate on whether to repair or replace the equipment. Heating equipment such as the furnace, for instance, can put you in such a dilemma’s position.

In most cases, the best decision between repairing and replacing is based on various factors. Some of these include the age and lifespan of the unit, its efficiency, the extent of damage, the cost of repair, and the amount of money each of the two options can save you. Below, we look at the two in detail on furnace repair vs. replacement: tips when weighing your options.

Cost of Repairs

In most cases, if not always, furnace repair is generally cheaper than replacement. However, there is more to it to consider than the total cost of fixing the HVAC component.  According to consumer report’s recommendation, it is always wiser to replace a product if its cost of repair is more than 50% that of replacing it with a new one. In most cases, furnace repair costs depend on the type of furnace, its size, and the extent of the damage. For smaller problems such as a broken/damaged filter, a problematic thermostat, a repair can be more advisable, especially if the factors that follow are in favor of the repair option.

The Issue of Safety

This should actually have been number one on the list of things to consider. If your furnace has a problem that could be considered a safety hazard, then replacing the unit can be a better choice to make. A good example is a case where the furnace is emitting carbon monoxide gas due to a broken or cracked heat exchanger.

The Product Lifespan and Its Age

According to a study done in 2007 by the NAHB and BOA, forced-air system furnaces had an average lifespan of 15-20 years. How long the system has lasted since it was installed can also be a good factor when debating on whether to install a new furnace or repair the existing one. If the unit has been used for close to or more than its estimated/average lifetime, replacement is more or less a better choice. However, this will still be dependent on its performance, costs, and other factors mentioned in this article.

In most cases, however, repairs for older units are more likely to cost more. If your repair costs for a 15+year’s unit are more than a third of the total replacement costs, a replacement would be more advisable. Additionally, you may also want to upgrade your HVAC system by replacing an older unit with a modern version that makes use of modern technology and updated features.

Furnace Efficiency

If your furnace is consuming too much energy and is probably less efficient, perhaps due to aging, replacing it with a new unit can be a better idea. The energy efficiency of the heating equipment is mostly measured using the AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency number. Modern units are mostly more energy-efficient than older furnace models. “There are also other benefits of upgrading to a more energy-efficient HVAC unit, including tax incentives from federal governments, tax credits, and rebates,” remarked D Mills, a spokesperson for Altitude Comfort – Furnace Repair Denver, a furnace installer in Colorado.

Frequent Furnace Repairs

Maintaining an old unit may sometimes not be worthy of the cost. If your furnace constantly or frequently breaks down and costs you in repairs, then it might be time to consider replacing the unit altogether.

Bottom Line

Whichever option you choose between furnace repairs versus replacement, the rule of thumb is to choose an experienced, reputable and highly reliable HVAC technician or company if you want to get the best out of your existing or new heating and cooling equipment. Proper furnace maintenance and inspection are also paramount if you want to prolong the lifetime of your heating equipment, and along with other benefits, avoid the repair versus replacement dilemma.