Should I Repair or Replace My Furnace?

Furnace in the basement

Furnaces have come a long way in the last 35 years: as recently as the 1980s, you could find models with efficiencies in the 50-60 percent range, which means that nearly half the money that a family spent to heat their homes was ultimately wasted.

Today’s furnaces, by contrast, can reach efficiencies into the mid or even upper 90s, keeping you warm at home for far less money. But that huge bang-for-the-buck jump does come at a cost.

Much like modern cars, today’s heating equipment is more computer-driven and complex than ever before. While that technology leads to substantially better performance, it also means that more must be done – by people with increasingly specialized training – to make sure that better performance continues. Higher tech also means that parts are more delicate: heat exchangers with thinner walls crack more easily, while adding motors for circulation and exhaust fans and an electronic ignition to replace a mechanical pilot light assembly means having more – and more expensive – parts that can break.

Three keys to long-lasting heating system performance

Today’s gas furnaces can last 15-20 years. But that length greatly depends on many things – especially regular professional maintenance. Right-sizing your furnace and making sure it is properly installed will affect that lifespan, too – along with your heating bills.

To get more from your furnace, it’s a good idea to:

  1. Get a tune-up every year. Routine maintenance will make your equipment run better and last longer – and it will prevent many costly heating system repairs. The best way to get that maintenance? Sign up Porco Service Plan.
  2. Reduce the workload on your equipment whenever possible. Overwork is the enemy of both efficiency and longevity for any home comfort equipment, including your furnace. Reduce that overwork by following good home heating efficiency practices – cutting down on air leaks, maintaining reasonable temperatures on your thermostat, changing air filters regularly, and upgrading your insulation, to name a few (you can find more efficiency tips here).
  3. Make sensible upgrades. If your heating equipment is more than 15 years old, it may not be worth repairing. Today’s furnaces are much more efficient than they were 15 years ago – especially if you haven’t stayed on top of maintenance. Follow 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 Hudson Valley home! Contact us today to learn more.