It’s kept you warm and toasty in the chilliest of conditions, but your trusty old furnace may be just that: old.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably putting off furnace replacement because, let’s face it: who really thinks about the state of their furnace until they lose heat or see a dramatic spike in their energy bills? That heavy piece of machinery sitting in your basement only seems important after it malfunctions, right? That’s a mistake. Chances are, that tired old furnace is costing you a bundle long before it finally quits.
It’s best to avoid costly malfunctions and inefficiencies before the temperature drops or your furnace stops working altogether. If you’re unfamiliar with the life cycle of your heating system, ask yourself these five basic questions next time you’re debating repair vs. replacement.
1. How Old Is My Heating System?
Every hard-working machine, from your car to your dishwasher, has an age limit. For your furnace, that limit is around 12 years. 12 years is a long time for a heavy-duty machine to function, even in optimal conditions. Don’t try and push for a couple extra years. Once you’ve reached that 12-year mark, it’s time to choose: continue spending money on repairs and an increased heating bill or replace your furnace altogether.
2. How High Are My Utility Costs?
When your furnace starts losing strength, it uses more power to compensate. If you notice a spike in your utility costs, it could very well be your furnace working overtime. Sooner or later, the amount you pay to cover the energy cost increase eventually adds up to the cost of a furnace replacement.
3. Is The Same Process Taking Longer?
You’ve had your furnace for a good 3-5 years. You know exactly when it’s starting up and shutting down, and how long it takes to do both. If there comes a day when these familiar processes sound a bit off, or take a bit longer than usual, it’s something to look into. If you’re unsure of any discrepancies, give your HVAC service provider a call. Your furnace may be telling you it’s struggling with tasks that once came easy.
4. How Often Are You Repairing?
Furnace repair is inevitable. The question you need to ask yourself: how often are my repairs happening? You shouldn’t be doling out money for monthly repairs. Instead, recognize that these multiple furnace repairs are trying to point you in the direction of a single furnace replacement.
5. How Much Are You Spending On Repairs?
After six years with the same furnace, repairs should never exceed $1,ooo. After ten years, furnace repairs should never exceed $300. If you’re paying more on repairs, that means there are more complex issues going on with your furnace than standard heating problems. In that case, complete furnace replacement may be your best option.
If you are trying to decide what’s best for your budget — furnace repair or furnace replacement — simply remember these five basic guidelines. Regardless of your choice, it’s important to have an HVAC professional check your furnace from time to time and gauge its performance. Don’t wait until the winter cold sets in or a furnace issue to appear before calling in the experts. Proactive maintenance helps you find and fix any potential problems before they arise.