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How do you know if it is time for a furnace replacement or if you can still get by with a furnace repair? This is a question that many homeowners struggle with. While the cost of a new furnace is considerable, purchasing new equipment rather than making repairs makes sense if the furnace will need to be replaced soon anyway.
Here are some ways to determine if it is time to replace your furnace.
The average life of a furnace is approximately 15 to 20 years. If your furnace is approaching that and has stopped working as well as it once did, it is likely becoming more expensive to operate and will begin to require more and more work to keep it going.
The life of a furnace depends greatly on how well it is maintained over the years. A furnace that has not had regular professional maintenance will need replacement sooner.
A useful rule of thumb is if the cost of the repair is more than 50% of the cost of a new furnace, then the furnace should be replaced. If, however, the furnace is in that 15 to 20 year age range, the energy efficiency of a new furnace can quickly offset the cost of replacement, even if the repair is less than 50% of a new one.
If your energy bills are suddenly much higher, your furnace has likely reached the end of its life. Keeping your current furnace going may save a little bit in the short term, but will cost a lot more over time. Compare the energy efficiency of your current furnace with that of new furnaces using the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. AFUE measures how much energy is generated for every dollar of fuel consumed. An AFUE of 80, for example, means for every dollar you spend on fuel. 80 cents goes to heating your home and 20 cents is wasted.
A failing furnace may cause some areas of your home to experience cold spots or hot spots. Some areas may be drafty while others are too warm and stuffy. An increase in dust and dirt can also be a sign that your furnace needs to be replaced.
Don’t wait for your furnace to completely break down before you start considering a new one. Have your furnace evaluated by an HVAC professional to determine if a furnace replacement or repair is right for you.