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Should I Repair or Replace my Gas Furnace?

Posting Date: November 16, 2017
Posted by: Steve Ferguson, Branch Manager of Ocala and Tampa, FL

People sometimes wonder why things made today aren’t made like they were in the “good old days.” The old furnace in your grandmother’s house, for example, might have lasted 50 years or more.

The problem with most old furnaces (and most older fuel-powered machines in general) was that, more often than not, they were extremely inefficient – sometimes as low as 50 percent or even less. That meant that half the money you spent to heat your home was wasted.

At today’s energy prices, you simply can’t afford to do that (our environment can’t afford it, either).

Efficiency standards started to change in the 1970s in response to oil shortages: manufacturers improved furnace efficiency by adding fans to circulate warm air and producing thinner heat exchanger walls, pushing heating efficiency ratings into the 70 percent range. Later came electronic ignitions in place of pilot lights, then exhaust fans, then computer chips that would push efficiencies to 98 percent!

But all those improvements came at a cost in two areas: durability and simplicity. Thinner heat exchangers crack, more motors means more breakable parts (and more complicated designs), and an electronic ignition means more maintenance. The truth is that with better technology, more can go wrong – which means that more must be done to make sure it works right .

Preparing your heating system for a longer life

Today’s gas furnaces can last 15-20 years – but that length greatly depends on many factors – especially how well you maintain your equipment. Right-sizing your furnace and making sure it is properly installed will, too. If you don’t do those things, you could be cutting the lifespan of your gas furnace significantly –  and get higher heating bills, too.

To get more life from your furnace:

  1. Maintain your equipment. Routine maintenance will make your equipment run more efficiently and last longer – and it will prevent many costly repairs.
  2. Upgrade older equipment. If your system is more than 15 years old, consider an upgrade. Today’s systems are much more efficient than they were 15 years ago –especially if you haven’t maintained your equipment.
  3. Use 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.