Winters are cold in North Carolina, and no one wants to go without a working furnace. If your heater stops working, you might need to make a quick decision: should you look into heating repairs, or just replace it entirely? Heating repairs can be costly, but a new furnace could be even more expensive. Several key factors will affect whether it makes more sense to repair or replace. The age of your furnace can make a big difference in whether it’s cheaper to replace it. It can also depend on what kind of condition it’s in, and how often it’s been breaking down. Here’s what you’ll want to consider when making your decision.
How Old Is Your Furnace?
Your heater’s age can definitely affect how expensive it will be to repair. Like most appliances, even the highest quality furnace has a limited life span, and won’t hold up forever. Many HVAC experts recommend replacement after anywhere from 10 to 15 years. When a furnace has been around for this long, it’s lost a lot of its original efficiency— it may be only 65% as efficient as it was to begin with. A new furnace, while expensive, could actually cut your annual utility costs. These long-term savings could certainly justify the cost of installing a new one.
The good news is that if your heater is under ten years old, chances are it can be repaired.
Has It Broken Down Before?
If you’ve frequently been finding yourself in need of heating repairs, it might be time to replace your furnace entirely. If this is the first time it’s stopped working, it might not be time yet to replace it. But furnaces often need the most repairs during the last two years of their life spans. If it seems like your heater just keeps breaking down, it might be worth the money in the long term to install a new one instead.
Is Your Heater Losing Efficiency?
Heating repairs might not be worth it for an older heater that isn’t working as efficiently as it used to. There are some telltale problems that might mean that you should consider replacing it. Are your utility bills going up, even though usage hasn’t changed? Does it feel like your house is being heated unevenly, with some rooms hotter or colder than others?
How Much Will It Cost to Fix?
Usually, the cost of heating repairs doesn’t begin to approach the expense of a brand-new furnace. One rule of thumb is that you should replace your furnace if the repair cost is more than one third of what it would cost to replace it. With that said, repairs are the cheaper option in most cases. New furnaces are quite expensive: the average national cost of furnace installation is nearly $5000.
When you’re in need of heating repairs, there’s a chance that replacing it might make more sense. If your furnace is over ten years old, breaks down frequently, or isn’t as efficient as it could be, you might want to consider the long-term cost benefits of replacing it. Fortunately, however, most routine heater breakdowns are easily fixable, which costs far less than installing a new one.