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Winter is almost here, and if your furnace seems to be on its last legs, you could save a lot of money this winter and in the long run by investing in a new system now. But how do you know when it’s time to replace your old furnace? There are several telltale signs.
Your Heating Bills Are Higher
If heating your home seems to be more expensive than it used to be even taking into consideration the rising cost of energy, chances are your furnace is critically lacking in efficiency. An inefficient furnace will end up costing you more in the long run than replacing it now.
Your Furnace Isn’t Keeping You as Warm as It should
If your house is properly air sealed and your ducts aren’t leaking, but the thermostat is cranked all winter long and you’re still shivering, you should consider replacing your furnace now. Older furnaces often don’t heat as well or as efficiently as they should, especially if they haven’t been maintained annually.
Your Furnace is Older than 10 Years
A furnace that is older than ten years probably has an annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, as low as 56 percent. This means that only 56 percent of the fuel the system uses is converted into heat for your home. The remaining 44 percent is sent outdoors as exhaust, in the form of dangerous greenhouse gases.
By comparison, new furnaces are required to have an AFUE of at least 78 percent, and high efficiency models may have an AFUE as high as 98.5 percent.
If your older furnace is still operating efficiently and hasn’t begun needing repairs, you can probably get a few more years out of it before needing a replacement. But if it’s lacking efficiency, hasn’t been properly maintained, or it’s nearing the end of its operating life, you’re probably better off replacing it sooner rather than later.
You’ve Needed Furnace Repairs in the Last Two Years
It seems like once you need your furnace fixed, more repairs are inevitably on the way. If the repairs are inexpensive, you may be able to wait another year or two before replacing your furnace, but if they’re more expensive, replacing now will probably save you a considerable amount of money on future repairs.
A common rule of thumb is that if the repair will cost 50 percent or more of the price of a new furnace, replace it.
Repair or Replace: The Bottom Line
There are a number of factors that go into determining whether it’s time to ditch the old furnace and have a new one installed. A reputable HVAC contractor can help you make the decision if you’re not sure. If you decide it’s time to replace the old system, be sure to hire a company with a proven track record and quality products to avoid subpar equipment, improper sizing, and poor installation practices, all of which can quickly negate any benefits of a new system and cost you more money in the long run.