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Do you repair or replace your furnace?

As one of the most important pieces of equipment in a home, it’s important to know the limitations of a furnace. While repairing a furnace is usually an easier option, there are times when the towel has to be thrown, and a replacement is the smarter move. But where is that line drawn? There are a number of tell-tale signs that a furnace is beyond saving, so homeowners should keep the following in mind when assessing issues with their furnace this winter.

The Age of Reason

Everything has a best by date. And according to the U.S. Department of Energy, that date is 15–30 years for home furnaces. This, of course, is a generalization, and will vary by make, model, and manufacturer, but stands as a good rule of thumb. If a furnace hasn’t been replaced within the last 15 years, and repairs are beginning to rack up, it’s generally best to replace it rather than continue reinvesting in it.

Noises, Bumps, and Bangs

It’s natural for a furnace to make sounds as it turns on and off, so general usage noises are nothing for a homeowner to worry about. Loud crashes or bangs, or sounds of metallic scraping, are causes for concern, however, as they usually signal something coming apart within the furnace itself. Generally, these are issues that can be repaired, but it’s best to leave that final prognosis to a professional technician.

Balancing The Books

When comparing the choices to repair or replace, experts tend to agree that the cut-off point is when a repair costs 50% or more of what a replacement furnace would cost. This is assuming that the furnace is within its usual lifespan — if the furnace is 15 years or older, that number drops to repair costs equaling 30% of the price of a newer model. The dramatic difference accounts for the likelihood of the older furnace lasting a shorter amount of time once repaired, making the investment in a newer model a stronger investment over time.

Something Doesn’t Smell Right

While a furnace is intentionally supposed to produce hot air throughout a home, it’s not supposed to distribute gas. If a CO monitor starts alerting a spike in carbon monoxide, and it is found to be leaking from the furnace, it should be shut-off and replaced as soon as possible. Likely an issue with a cracked heat exchanger, the presence of CO from a furnace is an issue that is best replaced to avoid any possibility of the same unit repeating the same issue. It’s also always important to monitor for carbon monoxide, as without a monitor, it’s difficult to detect the colorless, odorless gas responsible for a number of health safety issues. 

Making the final determination on when it’s time to say good riddance to an older furnace is tricky, and requires balancing a number of factors unique to each homeowner. If you have questions about whether to repair or replace your home furnace or if you need to schedule an inspection to determine any issues with your furnace, reach out to the licensed technicians at Duane Blanton Family Home Service. With over 30 years of experience, the knowledgeable staff at Duane Blanton will be able to guide you through the issues and expectations of furnace ownership. Reach out today with your questions, at (815) 781-2567, or schedule online through their convenient online scheduling portal.


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