With the costs of energy on the rise across the country, homeowners are looking for ways to make sure they can continue to afford to heat their houses. Some home improvements are obvious, such as sealing up air gaps around doors and windows or making sure the attic is insulated properly. Deciding when to replace a heating system is a more complicated process, especially when the temperatures have already begun to drop.
The Best Time to Repair or Replace a Heater
By far the best time to have a furnace, boiler, or heat pump either repaired or replaced is during the off-season when the family isn’t relying on it to stay warm. The alternative of waiting until winter is fully underway to deal with a malfunctioning heating system places a lot more stress on homeowners and their families and can restrict the options available.
If, for example, the repairs to an existing furnace will require a specialized part, choosing to have the unit repaired could leave homeowners and their families to freeze for days or longer. Most families choose to replace their heaters rather than wait it out in the cold, and they typically choose whatever models are most available.
Dealing with the same problems before the home heating season starts gives homeowners access to the full range of options on the table, from waiting for parts to make repairs to replacing the old heating system entirely to maximize the home’s energy efficiency.
Sure Signs It’s Time for a Replacement
More often than not, the question of whether to repair or replace a furnace doesn’t have one clear answer. It’s up to homeowners to weigh the pros and cons of each solution. There are, however, some circumstances where a furnace replacement is the only viable option. They include:
- Carbon monoxide leaks
- Serious repairs that cost more than a new furnace
- Availability of tax incentives and rebates to pay for a replacement
- Monthly heating bills that have become too high to pay
Other Factors to Consider
If a furnace has broken down but the repairs would be affordable and safe to perform, answering the question of whether to have the unit repaired or replaced is a little harder. Most homeowners consider these two primary factors:
Cost of Repairs vs. Replacement
If the repairs will cost more than half of what it would cost to replace the unit, replacement is almost always the best option. The same goes for the accumulated cost of minor repairs over a short period.
Age of the System
Modern furnaces typically last 16 to 20 years. If the unit hasn’t hit that mark yet, make minor repairs. Otherwise, a replacement is best.
The Best Solution for Any Budget
There is one final factor to consider, and it’s the family’s current and anticipated future budget. If purchasing a new furnace just isn’t in the cards right now, putting it off may be the only option. When that’s the case, it’s good to have an HVAC technician who is able to provide both repair and replacement services.