Repair or Replace? When Your Furnace Doesn’t Make the Grade
It’s a common question for a common experience. When your home heating system is getting past its prime, when you find that your comfort isn’t what it used to be, when energy bills appear higher than they should be and when you’ve had to call for repairs on multiple occasions… that’s the time homeowners ask, “Should I replace my furnace? Or should I shell out more for repairs?”
Your home comfort system is a significant part of your home – not just representing a portion of your overall investment, but also claiming about half of your energy costs each month. So, the equipment itself as well as its operational efficiency are integral to your family finances.
When making the case for replacement rather than repair, what should you consider? Energy Star, a program of the federal government, suggests that you first take into consideration the age of your equipment.
If your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old, or if your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old, that’s the time to consider replacing your system with home comfort equipment that has earned the Energy Star label. High efficiency heat pumps can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs over the units they replace. Energy Star-qualified furnaces are 15% more efficient than conventional furnaces. Or, if you have a boiler, consider replacing it with an ENERGY STAR qualified boiler that is 5% more efficient than a new, standard model.
What else should you consider?
- Age of your furnace. If it’s over 15 years old, definitely consider replacing.
- If your equipment needs frequent repairs and/or your energy bills are going up, your cooling or heating equipment may have become less efficient.
- If some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold, improper equipment operation, duct problems or inadequate insulation could be the cause.
- If your home has humidity problems, this could be caused by poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment and leaky ductwork that leave the air too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer.
- If your home has excessive dust, that’s not just a sign of poor housekeeping. Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics, crawl spaces and basements and distribute them throughout your house. Sealing your ducts may be a solution.
- Noise may be a factor for some people.