When Should I Replace my Furnace?

With its ability to keep you toasty warm throughout winter, the furnace is one of the most essential systems in your home. Though they last quite a while, every good furnace will eventually reach the end of its lifespan. Knowing the right time to replace your furnace will help you avoid the stress of an emergency furnace problem. Here are some signs that you need to start thinking about getting a new furnace.

1. Your Furnace Is Getting Old

One of the first things to do is to check the age of your furnace. If you bought it yourself, you probably know just how old it was. However, if the furnace was there when you moved into the house, it might be trickier. Look along the exterior and interior of the furnace for a tag with information. This tag might show the installation date, or it might show a serial number you can research to get your furnace’s age.

The average furnace will last about 15 to 20 years. You don’t have to replace your furnace as soon as it is 15 years old, but at that point, you will need to start preparing for the possibility of a replacement. Keep in mind that every furnace is different though, so some people have 25-year-old furnaces that are still working just fine. Age is just one of the many factors that tell you when a furnace needs to be replaced. Being aware of the typical furnace’s lifespan will let you go ahead and start saving up and researching new furnaces at an appropriate time.

2. You Need a More Efficient Heating System

Another thing to consider alongside the age of a furnace is its efficiency. If you have a 10-year-old furnace that is still chugging along just fine, you don’t technically have to replace it just yet. However, you might be missing out on big savings by holding onto an older model. Newer furnaces tend to be far more efficient than older models. If your furnace is getting up there in years, it may be guzzling a lot of extra power in its attempt to keep your house warm. This is especially true if your older system is broken or operating inefficiently.

To assess the efficiency of your current machine, you can use your furnace’s model number to look up its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. If your machine’s rating is below 83%, you might want to go ahead and replace your furnace. The AFUE rating for your furnace will be its efficiency rating when it’s functioning optimally. Since machines lose AFUE levels as they age, your efficiency might be lower than you think. You should also check your energy bills for the past few winters. Heating bills that are on the rise are a sign your machine needs to be replaced.

The exact amount of money you save will depend on what size furnace you get and your local fuel costs. For most people, upgrading from an old, inefficient furnace to a high-efficiency model will save around $100 to $200 per year in heating costs. Over the life of your furnace, this can result in thousands of dollars in savings. In many cases, the savings outweigh the cost of getting a furnace replacement a little sooner than usual, so it might be worth it to go ahead and replace your furnace even if it is still functional.

3. Your Furnace Needs Major Repairs

Any time your furnace breaks down, you will need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of repairs. In some cases, paying for repairs is a bad idea. There are big issues, like a cracked heat exchanger, that can be expensive and challenging to fix. When the furnace’s repair needs are very high, you may want to just go ahead and replace it instead. How do you tell if you should repair or replace your furnace? First of all, consider the age of the furnace. If it is more than 12 years old, it might not be worth repairing. At this age, your furnace is likely to break down again soon, so paying for repairs will just slightly delay the inevitable.

The extent of the repairs should be your other deciding factor. When your furnace quits working, you should go ahead and call out a technician for an estimate. They can tell you exactly what is wrong with the furnace and how much it would cost to fix it. A general rule of thumb is that you should replace your furnace if the repairs would cost more than half the price of installing a new furnace. The reasoning behind this idea is that you may not get enough use out of a repaired furnace to justify extremely pricey repairs. Instead, you are better off going ahead and putting the money into a new furnace that will last much longer.

4. You’ve Realized Your Furnace Is the Wrong Size

Sometimes your furnace is relatively new and functions fine, but it just doesn’t work for your home. It is very important to get the right size furnace for your house. If someone made a mistake and put the wrong furnace size in your home, you need to replace it as soon as possible. The good news is that there is a market for used, functional furnaces, so you can recoup some of the cost of a replacement. Whether your furnace is too big or too small, an improperly sized furnace uses excessive amounts of power and puts extra wear and tear on your system. Getting a replacement will help you save on utility bills and keep you from damaging your furnace system.

There are a few different signs to look out for if you suspect your furnace is improperly sized and needs to be replaced. If your furnace is too small, it will not be able to put out enough heat to warm your house. It will run for extensive amounts of time, using a lot of fuel without warming up your home. If your furnace is too large, you will have the opposite issue. Oversized furnaces do something called short cycling which means they are constantly turning on and off. This happens because the furnace will dump out a lot of heat quickly, triggering a thermostat shut off, but areas away from the vents will not get a chance to warm up before it turns off.

Let Us Help With Your Climate Comfort

For all your furnace replacement needs, Wenbrooke Services is here to help. We assist Frederick County residents with finding the right system and getting it installed. Once your furnace is in place, we can help with any heating repairs or maintenance as well. Our highly trained technicians also perform a variety of other cooling repairs, AC installations, AC maintenance, and electrical services. To learn more about our offers, give us a call today. We look forward to serving all of your indoor climate comfort needs.