Few things are worse than realizing that your furnace just won’t work — especially when you are right in the middle of a frigid winter. Unfortunately, furnaces break down when you least expect it.
If your furnace is not particularly new, you might be unsure whether to repair or to buy a new unit altogether. Sometimes, simple repairs can restore your heating system but in some cases, you may need to replace your furnace.
If you are wondering what to do, read on to find out which factors to consider.
Many problems that affect a furnace are repairable. Common fixable issues include:
- A furnace that cycles on and off
- A furnace that will not turn on
- A faulty limit switch
- A problematic ignition
- A noisy furnace
The main cause of many of these issues is a faulty thermostat, clogged filters, or congested drain lines. A professional can easily repair or replace a thermostat, install new filters, and clean clogged drain lines.
If the furnace does not work after extensive repairs, and this is usually the case with aged furnaces, your heating and cooling specialist may recommend buying a new one.
As they age, furnaces are more prone to breaking down frequently. On average, furnaces have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years or more depending on the quality of the appliance and the maintenance.
If you are unsure how old your furnace is, check the inside of the chamber door for a metal plate containing the unit's serial number and model. Call the manufacturer to find out your unit's date of manufacture.
If your furnace has surpassed its service life and is constantly malfunctioning, consider buying a new one.
Efficiency is based on how much fuel a furnace converts into usable heat for your home. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) is the industry rating for a furnace's energy efficiency.
For example, an AFUE rating of 85 means that the unit converts up to 85 percent of the fuel into energy that you can use to heat your home — the remaining 15 percent is lost as exhaust heat. A high AFUE rating means your furnace is working efficiently to convert fuel energy into heat energy.
Find your AFUE ratings on the furnace's chamber door. If your unit's AFUE rating is lower than 80-85 percent, consider buying a new furnace with a higher efficiency rating.
Repairing an inefficient furnace might cost you more in the long term, as the furnace will consume more fuel while delivering less heat to warm your home. As such, you may notice significant increases in your energy bill. A low-efficiency furnace also tends to produce more carbon dioxide, which poses significant safety and health hazards.
However, bear in mind that the more energy efficient the furnace is, the greater the upfront cost of purchasing such a unit. However, this will pay for itself in lower fuel bills and carbon dioxide emissions.
The cost of repairing a furnace varies significantly. On average, you might pay anything between $20 and $1,500 or more depending on the type of repair. On the other hand, purchasing and installing a new furnace can cost between $2,525 and $6,074 or more.
If the cumulative cost of repairing your furnace exceeds the cost of a new unit, replacement might give you better value for money. Consider the fact that due to advances in technology, today's furnace models are more energy efficient, have a longer service life, and come with few maintenance requirements.
An older furnace that costs more in repairs is likely worth replacing. A reputable heating and cooling specialist from Action Heating & Plumbing will be invaluable in helping you decide when to repair or replace your furnace. You can call us today for reliable Santa Rosa furnace repair and installation services.