Your furnace has proven its worth throughout the years by faithfully providing reliable heat. But there may come a time when you must consider whether you should continue to repair and maintain your current furnace or invest in a brand-new replacement. The decision-making process can be rather difficult and time-consuming, so here are three important things to consider.
Consider Your Current Furnace's Performance and Lifespan
You expect your furnace to keep up with the daily rigors of keep your home warm and comfortable. As the years pass by, it may eventually become apparent that your furnace can no longer keep up with your heating demands. Ongoing performance issues such as constant heat loss and periodic breakdowns are common reasons for replacing old heating equipment.
There's also the issue of furnace longevity. Most modern furnaces are designed to offer anywhere from 15 to 20 or even 30 years of service when properly maintained. The older your furnace gets, the more likely you'll benefit from a total replacement as opposed to stopgap repairs. Most experts advise that you consider a furnace replacement if you've had your current furnace for more than 15 years.
Consider the Cost of Repairs and Replacement
Repair costs are also another consideration that could affect your decision to repair or replace your current heating system. It all comes down to the cost of repairs relative to the age and reliability track record of the furnace. For example, if you own a furnace that's just a few years old with a relatively good track record for reliability, it may make sense to spend a few hundred bucks on a minor repair instead of spending thousands on a complete heating system replacement.
On the other hand, the savings gained by repairing an older furnace can easily be wiped out if that furnace requires multiple repairs during the heating season. Once repair costs begin to approach the average cost of a brand-new furnace, it may be time to reconsider holding onto your old standby.
Consider the Energy Costs
In the U.S., over half of the energy typically used in an average home is devoted towards heating and cooling. So it's no surprise that energy costs also play a significant factor in replacing or repairing heating equipment. There are a couple of arguments to consider when it comes to replacing or repairing your furnace:
Newer furnaces are designed specifically with energy efficiency in mind, with a wide variety of features (including variable speed blowers and multi-stage burners) that help reduce overall energy consumption and long-term utility costs. As a result, upgrading to a newer furnace may be more beneficial in the long run rather than sticking with your current furnace.
Although older furnaces may lack the energy efficiency of their newer counterparts, the cost of heating fuel in your area may be low enough to mitigate the increased energy usage to an extent. This depends heavily on the fuel source your furnace relies on (heating oil, propane, natural gas, or electricity).
You may be able to save energy with your current furnace through several stopgap measures, including upgrading your thermostat to a programmable model or simply by changing the type of furnace air filter you use. Once you've reached the point of diminishing returns, however, it may be time to consider a complete furnace replacement.
By keeping all of these considerations in mind, you'll be able to make the best decision for your home's overall comfort as well as your household budget.