One mistake you shouldn’t make is to have your furnace stop working during one of the frosty nights in winter. You will get desperate for a replacement or repair because of the discomfort. However, you must first confirm whether the furnace needs replacement or repair.
You should repair a furnace when it is relatively new but replace it when repairs are frequent. It all depends on the current situation of your furnace and what got damaged. Replacement is usually the best option for safe and efficient furnace use.
In this guide, I will explain how you can tell the right time to repair or replace a furnace.
When Should You Repair a Furnace?
Most of the time, repairing your furnace will be cheaper than outright replacing it. However, you must know that for every repair you make to your furnace, the closer you get to its expiry date.
At such points, you will be repairing the furnace frequently, spending more than a replacement cost. Here is how you should know when to fix the furnace.
Young Furnace Age
All electrical, mechanical, and heating devices have a lifespan that depends on how frequently you use the machines.
Furnaces are not left out, as they have a lifespan of between fifteen and thirty years before requiring a replacement. Note that this lifespan is from the manufacturing date, not the installation period. Therefore, be sure to check the manufacturing date before purchase.
The more you use the device, the lower its lifespan will be.
If your furnace is still under fifteen years since its manufacture, you can go for repairs. As long as you have a good product, the furnace shouldn’t break during this period.
At the beginning stages of a furnace’s lifetime, the damages it will experience will be minor. The furnace has two major parts:
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- The burner
- The heat source
The heat source may be fire or electric, while the burner is always around the flame area. If any of these two experience damage, it will be minor damage that you can fix.
Sometimes, you can fix your furnace by reading helpful articles and having the right tools.
For instance, my article on why your furnace may not respond to thermostats gives insight into the possible causes. So instead of calling an expert, you could get insight into what can help you fix it yourself.
Low Repair Costs
Many things can go wrong in your furnace that won’t give you any headache for repairs. Most furnaces cost less than $1000 in repair, while some repairs can even cost less than $100. It all depends on what gets damaged in the furnace.
The minor damages you will experience in most furnaces include;
- Transformer damage: You’ll only experience this when you use an electric furnace. The transformer will require a replacement that costs around $400 if it damages.
- Ignitor damages: The ignitor of a furnace is what initiates the fire of the furnace. When this item gets damaged, you will replace it for around $300.
- Pressure switch damages: The pressure switch is one of many switches you will find in your furnace, but it damages quickly because you use it more often. Replacing this switch will cost you around $250.
- Sequencer damages: The sequencer is the part of an electric furnace that powers the heat. It usually lasts for over a decade and will cost around $300 to replace.
Inefficient Furnace Performance
When a device is not delivering its optimal performance, you will know. If your furnace starts giving signs of dragged performance, you may need to have it for repair.
One way to avoid this is to have routine maintenance for your furnace. If you can’t perform regular maintenance, maintain it before and after heavy use.
That means you should ensure the furnace is in great shape before and after winter. These are the times when the furnace will work a lot.
When Should You Replace the Furnace?
Homeowners have specific furnace standards to ensure an efficient and safe heating system. When these standards dwindle constantly, you should consider changing your furnace.
The purpose of having a furnace is to provide heat. When the furnace doesn’t perform this function or struggles, it may need to be replaced.
Here are some of the signs to let you know that your furnace requires a change;
When You Notice Carbon Monoxide
Your health is more important than anything, especially during winter.
Furnaces create heat using fire from a source, either electric or heat. Having a live fire in the home is not a risk anyone should be willing to take.
According to reports, heating equipment in the home caused more than 2000 casualties in the United States.
However, these mishaps are not frequent, so you can still use the furnace.
But one thing you need to be wary of is the presence of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is naturally colorless and odorless, so you can’t see or smell it in the gas form.
Luckily, you can see traces of gas in the fire. Your furnace should naturally have a light blue color. Once you notice any yellow or golden shade, you can be sure that your furnace produces carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that removes oxygen from the blood, affecting the organs that need it. According to the CDC, more than 2000 people died from large deposits of carbon monoxide in their systems.
Therefore, I’ll advise if you notice any golden or yellow flame, use your device when necessary and start planning for change.
When the Furnace Is Old
Age is an essential factor in the performance of a furnace. As I have mentioned, the average lifespan of the furnace ranges from fifteen to thirty years.
Using the furnace optimally can preserve the lifespan of the furnace. For instance, changing the filters regularly will help the furnace perform well.
Additionally, using the furnace only when necessary will preserve it for longer.
When Furnace Repair Cost Is High
You should consider furnace replacement when you notice you’re spending a lot on repairing your furnace because of frequent damages.
Replacing a furnace is expensive when you add the cost of the furnace and its installation. However, how much you will spend depends on the furnace type. Here is the cost breakdown:
- Oil furnace: Buying the furnace will cost between $1800 and $3200. Its installation will range between $2500 and $6000
- Electric furnace: Purchasing the electric device will cost between $600 and $3000. Installation costs will stay between $1000 and $3500.
- Gas furnace: Buying the furnace will cost you between $1000 and $6500. Its installation will range between $1000 and $3500.
These prices may be too high to change at once, but it is always better to change if you spend too much on repairs.
According to Consumer Reports, it is best to replace a product when a repair is already causing you to spend more than half of its replacement costs.
Some of the significant repairs with furnaces include;
- Heat exchanger damages: The heat exchanger is the part of the furnace that filters all dangerous gasses before heating the house. Repairs may cost more than $100, but replacement may cost up to $3000.
- Circuit board damages: The circuit board controls other parts of the furnace (600-2000).
- Gas valve replacements: This acts as the supply channel to the furnace. Replacement costs between $700-$1500.
- Inducer motor damages: This is the part that removes harmful gasses from your furnace. Replacement will cost between $800-$1000.
- Blower motor damage: This part of the furnace spreads the heated air around the home. Replacement costs anywhere from $2000-$3000.
Replacing or repairing your furnace depends on many factors, as discussed above.
However, once you notice you’re repairing your furnace rather frequently or your furnace is releasing harmful gasses, do not hesitate to replace it.
It’s always better to replace than to suffer a health setback.