Decisions, Decisions: Should I Repair or Replace My Gas Furnace?

Repairing gas furnace

Ever wonder why things aren’t made like they were in the “good old days?” Well, sometimes there’s a good reason.

Take furnaces, for example. The furnace in your grandfather’s house may well have lasted 40 years or more. But it was also extremely inefficient – so inefficient, in fact, that more than half the money he spent to heat his home was wasted (poor grandpa).

Today, you simply can’t afford to have equipment that does so little with so much energy.

The good news is that efficiency standards started to change in the 1970s in response to oil shortages, when manufacturers began upping the ante on efficiency technology. Today’s computer-driven high-efficiency gas furnaces really hum, with efficiencies reaching into the upper 90s – a far cry from levels attainable even 15 years ago.

But all those improvements come at a cost of durability and simplicity: Heat exchangers with thinner walls crack more easily, while adding motors for circulation and exhaust fans and an electronic ignition to replace a mechanical pilot light assembly means having more – and more expensive – parts that can break.

So overall, better technology means better performance – but it also means more must be done to make sure that better performance continues.

Preparing your heating system for a longer life

Today’s gas furnaces can last 15-20 years. But that length greatly depends on many things – especially how well you maintain your equipment. Right-sizing your furnace and making sure it is properly installed will affect that lifespan, too – along with your heating bills.

To get more from your furnace, follow these two bits of advice:

  1. Get annual routine maintenance every year. Routine maintenance will make your equipment run better and last longer – and it will prevent many costly repairs.
  2. When it’s time, don’t hesitate to upgrade. If your system is more than 15 years old, it’s entering its “it might not be worth it to repair” period. Today’s gas furnaces are much more efficient than they were 15 years ago –especially if you haven’t stayed on top of maintenance. Follow this rule of thumb: If a repair on your 10+ year old system is more than half the cost to replace it, upgrade your unit – the efficiency improvements will offset the cost quickly and give you better overall comfort and peace of mind.

Not sure whether to repair or replace your gas furnace? We can help you decide what makes sense for your home! Contact us today to learn more.