Wyckoff Heating & Cooling, we offer honest, reliable feedback for each of our customers to make the right decision for their home. We are often asked for input on whether homeowners should repair or replace their furnace or air conditioner – but the answer depends on several factors. Here are the considerations you should take into account to determine whether to repair or replace your heating (furnace) system:
Furnace Age: The average lifespan of a furnace ranges between 15 and 20 years. If your system is more than 10 years old, it’s time to consider replacement. Determine the age of the furnace based on the inspection sticker or serial number. The first four digits of the serial number typically represent the year and week or the week and the year, depending on the manufacturer.
Furnace Condition: The condition of HVAC systems can vary greatly from home to home, depending on the level of maintenance the current or previous homeowner invested. Installation quality and ductwork can also have a tremendous impact on the operation of your furnace. If your heating or cooling system is in poor condition, now may be the time for replacement.
Cost of Furnace Repairs: Wyckoff typically recommends a new furnace if the repair is more than $800 for systems over 10 years old. We encourage customers to follow our rule of 50 – if a repair costs 50 percent or more of what a new system would cost, get a new system. If you have an expensive repair, for example an out of warranty compressor that has failed in your air conditioner or a cracked heat exchanger in your furnace, Wyckoff would recommend replacement.
Furnace Efficiency: There are many benefits that come along with a new furnace, including increased efficiency and decreased utility bills. But why? In 2006, a new standard was put in place, requiring residential systems to have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 13 or higher. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the product. For example, by replacing a 10 year-old air conditioner, you can save 20 to 40 percent on energy costs, according to Energy.gov. You may also wish to gather several 12-month billing summaries from your electric company and compare your utility bills during the summer months from the last few years.
Frequency of Furnace Repairs: Are you constantly replacing parts or experiencing repair issues with your furnace? HVAC systems that require frequent repairs or have a major component failures, end up costing you in the long run. An extra couple hundred here and there can add up over time. Similar to your car, there comes a time when an update is cost effective, convenient and sensible.
Inability to Heat: As your furnace ages, efficiency declines, and it takes longer for the system to heat your home. Longer run times equate to higher electric bills. If your furnace is struggling to achieve a comfortable indoor air temperature, or if you notice a spike in electric bills, contact a Wyckoff professional for details on furnace replacement.
Furnace Replacement: If you’re considering replacing your furnace, it may be a good time to update your air conditioner as well. Connecting an older furnace to an energy-efficient cooling system or vice versa may actually prevent both from achieving maximum efficiency.