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Furnace Issues: Repair vs. Replace?

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In recent months, businesses in the home improvement industry have seen a spike in traffic due to consumers being home more than ever before. The Home Improvement Research Institute found with plans canceled many consumers have decided to focus on one area that is normally avoided, the needed repairs to their home. While summer slowly comes to a close, one of the projects on most people’s minds is their furnace and whether to repair or replace.  

For most consumers, the thought of replacing their entire HVAC system seems expensive, which makes it a project that is normally put off as long as possible. In most cases, a simple service inspection from an air conditioning company can fix any problems that you might be noticing. Some of the warning signs that repairs might be needed include the following.

  1. A dramatic increase in your energy bill. In most homes the furnace makes up the majority of the energy bill and when not correctly maintained it can cause a massive increase in your bill. Sometimes this increase can be caused by something simple and other times it can lead to a whole system replacement. By having an annual service visit you can help prevent this increase. 
  2. An abnormal amount of dust in your home. One component of your furnace is the filter. This helps to reduce the amount of dust that is present in the air within your home. By properly maintaining and replacing your filter you will be able to maintain clean air. 
  3. Abnormal or strange noises coming from your furnace. Furnaces are generally fairly quiet pieces of equipment within the home and therefore you should not be hearing popping, banging, scraping or screeching noises. Typically, these noises indicate that a part within the furnace is no longer working correctly. By calling a technician the problem can be quickly assessed and resolved. 

While repairs are the first line of defense against having your furnace go out on the coldest night, they are not always guaranteed. Each furnace model is slightly different from the others, however, on average a furnace will last about 15 years before needing to be replaced. As you move towards the colder nights of fall and winter it is a good time to think about the age of your furnace to prevent being without heat. Some other signs that your furnace is about to go out include the following.

  1. Carbon monoxide is being released into your home. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer within the homes which means that your furnace needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Carbon monoxide is released from the furnace when the combustion chamber within the unit cracks. This is not something that can be fixed and results in a whole unit replacement. 
  2. The cost of repairs is more than half the cost of replacing the unit. It is a rule of thumb for most technicians that if the costs of repairs excessed more than 50% of the cost of replacement and the unit is at least halfway through its life expectancy then you should place it. Normally by this point, the furnace is experiencing other problems and by replacing it you can possibly see a lower energy bill. 
  3. Numerous repairs in a short time span. Typically, if a unit requires numerous repairs within a two-year time span then it is time to consider replacing it. This is either a sign that more repairs are coming or that the unit is about to fail.

When it comes down to it deciding to repair or replace your furnace is a decision that only you can make. The main thing to remember is to listen to your furnace and know when something sounds off. By maintaining an annual maintenance schedule with your HVAC provider, you will be better informed to make the best decision possible.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by pdz_house

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