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Repair or Replace Gas Furnace: 3 Factors to Consider

Posted 10-14-14 in Heating

Furnace in an Atlanta, Georgia homeSo sorry to hear that your furnace broke down. What a bummer!

Now comes the hard decision: do you fork out the money for a furnace repair or take the plunge and get a new furnace?

Here are 3 important factors to keep in mind.

1) Age of the furnace

You don’t want to sink too much money into a furnace that does not have much time left to live. So compare your furnace’s age to the average lifespan before you make a decision.

The average furnace lives about 15-20 years, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Here are 2 ways to find out how old your furnace is:

  • Look for a year on the furnace. Some techs write the year they installed the furnace onto the unit itself
  • Turn off the furnace and wait for it to cool. Look for a metal identification plate (usually found on the furnace’s chamber door). Record the model and serial numbers on that plate. Then call the furnace manufacturer’s customer service number to get the date the furnace was made.

If it’s older than 20 years old, that does not mean you should automatically replace it. 15-20 years is just an average and many furnaces live well beyond that, if properly maintained.

Besides, you also need to keep in mind other factors like...

2) Cost of repairing vs. replacing

With the age of your furnace in mind, compare these 2 costs:

  • The cost to repair the furnace
  • The cost to replace the furnace

To find an accurate cost to repair, make sure you:

  • Get multiple cost estimates
  • Find out if the warranty is still valid and what it covers (after all, you may only have to pay for labor and not parts, which could cut the repair cost in half.)

The cost to replace depends on:

  1. The size of furnace you need
  2. The efficiency level you want (AFUE)
  3. Other variables like the blower type or stage type (single vs. two-stage)

With that in mind, a new gas furnace could cost you anywhere between $1,100 to $6,000.

Once you have the cost to repair and replace use this rule of thumb: Consider replacing your furnace if it’s two-thirds into it’s total lifespan AND the cost to repair would cost one-third or more the cost of a new furnace.

For example: Let’s say your furnace is 15 years old and repairing it could cost $800. If the cost to get a new furnace is $2400, then replacing it is your best bet, long-term.

3) You

Yes, you. Your situation is the most important factor. There are other issues and situations that are unique to you, including:

  1. What you can afford— Not everyone can really afford a new furnace, so repairing may be your best bet. (Financing is always an option, if your budget is tight and you really need a new furnace.)
  2. Energy efficiency woes— Are your heating bills outrageous? Want to start saving now? Then getting a new furnace could cut 10%-25% off your heating bills depending on the efficiency level of the furnace you buy.
  3. Comfort issues— Does your furnace never seem to keep you comfortable no matter how much you’ve had it serviced? Then maybe you’re better off replacing it.
  4. Repair frequency— If your furnace is old, a high frequency of repairs is a sign that replacing is a good idea, even if the repairs are relatively inexpensive.

Need an estimate on repairing and replacing your furnace?

Contact Coolray for an estimate on both repairing or replacing the furnace.

If your schedule the online, we cut 10% off the repair and 5% of the replacement cost.

Coolray is your Atlanta-area home comfort expert with specialists in heating, air conditioning, air quality and plumbing. Have more questions? We’d be happy to help – just contact us online.

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