There are safety, environmental and energy efficiency reasons to consider even if your furnace is not broken. At one time a major utility had a statement on their website that at 15 years old it is time to start planning replacement of your furnace to a safe more efficient model. Since that was posted for a few years ago and now removed, it can only be more true today.
New furnaces cost less - the savings estimated at today's energy cost can save you $1,615 over the products estimated lifespan. Since it is based on energy costs today it will fluxuate and likely be higher in the future. That is a savings of 66 therms a year while reducing green house emissions.
So if you are having functionality issues with your furnace, the first question that comes to mind is should it be repaired or replaced?
Pictured below, this older furnace is rusting, it's dirty and it is likely that the repair costs will be high, certainly more than the furnace is worth. Some people have described it this way, if you have a 15 year old car and it was used every year and not maintained very well - it will likely cost more to repair it than to buy a new one. The difference here is that no one speaks about their furnace like thay do about their cars. I have never heard I have a 1996 Bryant high efficiency furnace, most would be ahrd pressed to provide the year or manufacturer.
15 years is about the average life of the normal furnace. There are factors that affect this like regular preventative maintenance and usage and benefits that you may be missing out on like energy efficiency.
Generally, it makes more sense to install a new unit when the unit is 15 years old because other parts will continue to deteriorate or if the repair bill is fairly high.
Consider these points before replacement:
The Furnace is Fairly New- Check the warranty - many warranties include labor for the first year with the original installer, some parts are warranties for 5-10 years and critical components like the heat exchanger and compressors for longer. Most newer units will likely be under warranty, try reaching the company that installed the unit. In this case unless it is a fairly expensive repair for items not warrantied it makes sense to fix the unit rather than replace. Keep in mind warranties typically cover parts but not the labor after the first few months or even up to a year.
Inexpensive Repair - sometimes, a small repair is needed that is inexpensive, but several small inexpensive repairs can add up. For a newer furnace with a small issue a few hundred dollars may be enough to get your furnace up and running. For an older furnace there is safety and reliability to consider as well as repair costs.
An Aging Furnace - a decision has to be made - just like with an aging car, repair and pray or replace. Let's say your fuirnace is over 15 years old (maybe way over) or the cost to is just about $600, there is no telling when the next part will fail. It may make sense for replacement instead of throwing good money after bad into a furnace over 15 years old.
Consider This - A well maintained furnace or air conditioning unit will likely last longer than one without maintenance. So this should play into your decision as long as the furnace is safe and not leaking Carbon Monoxide. Also if you replace the furnace make sure you maximize this fresh start.
Energy Efficiency - There are some really energy efficient advances in heating, even just recently. The older units can be 50-70% efficient, some even state energy efficient and they are 80% efficient. Today we are installing units as efficient as 98%. This efficiency rating is labeled as AFUE and it refers to how effectively the furnace burns fuel. Energy efficiency needs to be considered when thinking about replacement. The difference in your heating energy bill could be 20-48% better than what is in your home today. There are also energy alternative systems like geothermal that can be 400% more efficient.
Special Good Until October 4, 2013 - Limited Number Available Per Day
Special safety message.... make sure you have a licensed, insured, experienced and certified contractor to either repair or replace your furnace.
If you need help with temperature, contact Cold Craft, Inc.
408.374.7292 or INFO@COLDCRAFT.COM