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Should You Replace Your Old Furnace?

How to Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Old Furnace

Annual maintenance can extend the life of your furnace, but there will still come a day when you have to replace it. We know it’s not an easy decision to make, but replacing your old furnace could actually save you money!

Most furnaces have a “lifespan” of 10-20 years, but you shouldn’t wait that long to replace your furnace. Older furnaces are more likely to break down just when you need them, and they aren’t doing you any favors when it comes to your utility bill. We recommend replacing them every 10 to 15 years – here’s why.

Reasons to Replace Your Old Furnace

It’s Inefficient

Modern furnaces are significantly more energy efficient than furnaces even just 10 years ago. Where old furnaces might hit 70 to 80% efficiency, newer furnaces hit 85% on the low end, with some even reaching 98%!

When we talk about the efficiency of a furnace, we’re referring to how much energy it can process into heat for your home. So if a natural gas furnace is 70% efficient, it processes 70% of that gas and vents the other 30% out of your home.

The thing is, you get charged for all the energy you use, whether it gets converted or not! Take a look at your last heating bill; 30% of that cost would not get used to heat your home. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that furnace efficiency actually degrades with age. If that old furnace was 70% efficient out of the box 15 years ago, it’s not hitting those numbers anymore. Coupled with rising energy prices, it may be costing you more than you think.

It Needs Frequent Repairs

Wear & tear on your HVAC system is inevitable. Despite your best efforts, it will eventually struggle to do its job well. It won’t put out as much heat, distribute heat unevenly throughout your home, or even randomly shut off.

That gets frustrating quickly. How are you supposed to enjoy the comfort of your home if it can’t stay warm? Not to mention the time and money you’ll spend on frequent service calls to diagnose and repair your furnace.

Old furnaces can also expose you and your family to safety risks as parts break or corrode. They become fire hazards, harm your indoor air quality, and can potentially be a source of gas leaks or carbon monoxide poisoning. Newer furnaces utilize more safety features to prevent these kinds of risks!

It Costs More Than It’s Worth

When it comes down to the brass tacks, old furnaces actually cost more money over the long run. They’ll run up your utility bills, and frequent repairs take a sizable bite out of your wallet. Consider how much you’ve spent on yours in the past few years.

While the cost of buying a new furnace and having it installed can be daunting, it pays for itself with energy savings over 3 to 5 years. Once you’ve recouped that cost, you’ll have an efficient furnace that reliably heats your home for another 5 to 10 years!

If spending a few thousand on a furnace replacement still makes you feel queasy, you’ll be happy to hear you can reduce the upfront cost. For one, we offer financing through our trusted credit partners so that you can pay for it in installments. In addition, there are energy rebates you can take advantage of at the state and federal levels.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development wrote a list of helpful resources for energy rebates in Washington, and Energystar can show you relevant energy rebates in your region. Make sure you’re applying for every rebate you’re eligible for!

Signs to Look Out For

While replacing your furnace every 10 to 15 years is a good rule of thumb, there are some telltale signs to look for.

  • Soot Buildup – Soot building up on air duct covers or your furnace grille may be a sign it’s producing too much carbon dioxide. 
  • Burner flames are yellow – Blue flames are clean, but yellow flames may indicate carbon monoxide being released.
  • Excess rust, cracks, or erosions – These all have the potential to become dangerous leaks.

Those signs are obvious, but there are other signals that may indicate it’s time to replace your old furnace.

  • Frequent Repairs – You find yourself scheduling annual repairs (not maintenance).
  • Unusual Noises – Pops and pings are normal, but other noises may mean more serious issues.
  • Skyrocketing Heating Bills – You’re heating your home a normal amount, but your energy bill is getting more expensive.

Ready to Replace Your Old Furnace?

Maintaining an old furnace is a nuisance that’ll cost you money, time, comfort, and health. Installing a new furnace is expensive, but it’ll make all the difference in your ability to enjoy your home and save money! If you’re ready to save yourself the headache, we’re ready to help.

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