Aged Furnace: Repair or Replace?

No matter how faithfully a furnace is maintained, eventually its efficiency diminishes. Most often, homeowners are torn whether to replace their furnace, or hang on to it a bit longer, and settle for repairs. How does one know which is which?

Most HVAC experts agree that older furnaces cost more to run. Antiquated units are shown to eat up about 40 cents on a dollar for heat wasted. It consumes over 1200 kW worth of electricity annually, thereby costing an additional $100-$300 more on energy bills.

On the other hand, newer furnaces are recommended because they have been upgraded for higher efficiency. The newer units waste less than 4 cents on a dollar and consumes 25% less than an older, decades-old furnace, for instance. Compared to newer furnaces, aged ones that show signs of wear, such as leaks on their pipes or heat exchangers, can pose harmful risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. Newer models are thus safer for the family and the environment.

Remember that a furnace’s average lifespan is approximately 16 to 20 years before they eventually succumb to the effects of wear-and-tear. Once the unit reaches that age range, problems begin to become rampant so you can expect to call on your service technician more often. If the furnace is over a decade old, and repairs would cost you more than $500, a replacement is in order and will be more cost-efficient in the long run than keeping the old one. Unless you’re willing to pay for frequent repairs, you’re better off in cost and energy efficiency with an upgrade.

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