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Time to replace or repair your furnace?


If your furnace breaks down during the winter, the pressure is suddenly on to make a snap decision: do you repair it, or replace it? When you donít have any heat at all, this can be a difficult choice to make. Thatís why we've put together a list of tips to help you make a decision when when the temperature keeps dropping, and youíre not sure what to do.

Three people holding question marks.

How old is your furnace?


Most furnaces have a fairly long life span - 15 to 20 years. However, this is an average, and some furnaces last longer than this with no problems, and some might give out at 12 years. If your furnace is within this age range, here are some things to consider when deciding if you should replace it or repair it:


  • Have you had many breakdowns in the last 2 years? Most furnaces incur the majority of their breakdowns within the last 2 years of their operation. If your furnace has had a number of costly repairs within the last 2 years, it might be time for a replacement.

  • Are your energy bills rising? If your furnace usage has not changed, but your bills continue to become more expensive, thatís a sign your furnace is becoming increasingly less efficient, and is taking longer to heat your home. Replacing it would be beneficial over time, especially if you choose an Energy Star model, which guarantees great efficiency resulting in great savings.

  • Do you have to wait for replacement parts? A sign that your furnace is getting too old to continue repairing is when replacement parts are hard to find. This is because they are no longer manufactured due to the age of the furnace.

  • Do the rooms in your home heat unevenly? A furnace thatís on its way out will have more difficulty heating all rooms in your home equally, resulting in some being significantly warmer or cooler than others.

  • Does your furnace make a lot of noise? If you notice your furnace making a lot of noise during operation such as humming, popping, rattling, banging, or squealing noises, that can signal that a furnace is coming to the end of its life.

  • What is your furnaces AFUE rating? Your HVAC contractor will be able to assess your furnaces AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) to determine how efficient your existing model is. If the AFUE rating is below 80%, it might be time to consider replacing. Mid-efficiency furnaces have an AFUE of 80%, but high efficiency furnaces achieve about 90% efficiency, and high efficiency models come equipped with variable-speed fans and extra controls, which means great savings as well as great comfort.


If you do have to replace your furnace, there are many benefits you can look forward to with a new furnace, such as:

  • Lower utility bills

  • Better comfort within the home

  • Improved humidity and dust control

  • Government incentives in the form of rebates for purchasing an efficient furnace

  • Improved air quality

  • The assurance of a warranty


If your furnace is experiencing many of the problems above, the decision to replace may be your best option. Always talk to your HVAC contractor before making a decision, as they will be able to help you through the process and make the best decision for your home and your family. If youíre worried about the replacement cost, most HVAC companies offer convenient financing options to help you and your family get the comfort you need.



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