When to Replace vs. When to Repair Your Furnace

September 18, 2017

If your furnace breaks down this fall, you’re faced with a big decision—will you pay to repair the furnace, or put your money toward replacing the unit? You want to make a cost-effective choice that you can feel good about down the road. While you can’t predict the future, this guide can help you decide when to replace vs. when to repair your furnace.


The average lifespan of a furnace today is about 15 to 20 years—as long as you make annual preventative maintenance a priority. If your furnace is within this age range, it’s time to start shopping for a replacement, even if your furnace is still running. This way, you’ll be prepared to replace your furnace as part of a planned home improvement project the next time it breaks down. This is much better than making a rushed, unexpected purchase with no chance to research your options.

Repair Cost & Frequency

If your furnace meets the above age requirement, and now you’re looking at a repair that will cost more than 50 percent of the price to buy a new unit, it’s probably in your best interest to replace it. This is especially true if you’ve already paid for a handful of repairs in the past two years.

Energy Bills

The rising costs of your heating bills over the years could be caused by more than just climbing utility rates. The chances are good that your furnace is losing the ability to operate efficiently as it gets older.

A high-efficiency furnace has all the newest technology and smart features to start paying you back for your investment right away. In fact, you can expect to lower your energy bills by 30 percent or more if you go the replacement route.

Environmental Impact

Performance issues don’t just lead to higher energy bills—they also undermine your efforts to be more environmentally friendly. The fact is that even when your 15-year-old furnace was new, it probably wasn’t rated any higher than 60 AFUE, or 60 percent efficient. With ratings of up to 98 AFUE now available, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and make a difference for the environment.

Noises or Smells

Weird sounds or unusual odors coming from your furnace are more than a mere annoyance—they could be a sign that the heater is nearing the end of its lifespan. These problems call for a repair, but if your furnace has been acting up a lot lately, you may want to start shopping for a replacement. This way, if the system gives out completely, you won’t be left out in the cold.

Home Comfort

How does the temperature feel in each room? Are some places too warm while others are too cold? Do you find yourself constantly adjusting the thermostat while still feeling uncomfortable?

Comfort issues like these are certainly worth investigating. They could indicate that your furnace is no longer capable of distributing heated air properly, resulting in hot and cold pockets, humidity problems, and stuffiness. If these problems are getting in the way of your comfort, it’s time to consider a furnace replacement.

Get More Help Deciding When to Replace vs. When to Repair Your Furnace

The best way to decide between a furnace repair and replacement is to schedule a preventative maintenance visit from Rick’s Heating & Cooling. Our knowledgeable technicians will assess the safety, efficiency, and dependability of your furnace and give you a professional recommendation of when to replace vs. repair your furnace.

Please contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable representative about your concerns. We’ll offer expert advice you can trust.