How To Choose Between Repairing And Replacing Your Old Furnace

Once your home's furnace starts getting up there in years, making more noises and working less efficiently, you may think it's about time to finally buckle down and buy a new one. This isn't always necessary, and repairs can often be less expensive than buying a new unit. However, if your furnace is old enough, the decision over whether to repair or replace needs to be made with the long term in mind. This can generally be narrowed down to a few factors to help you make your decision.


If your furnace is 10 to 15 years old (or even older), it's probably running less efficiently than it was when you bought it. At the very least it's running less efficiently than newer models which use less energy. This is also about the time when it may start to fail more often, which means money frequently spent on repairs. Even if your repairs are only minor, they will add up quickly. A new unit can save you money over time if you don't have to call for repairs a few times per year. Even if your furnace has been faithful up until now, it's better to buy a new unit before the frequent repairs become necessary.

If it is only a few years old, even if it isn't covered by any warranties, calling for a repair is a better option. It will probably be the exception rather than the norm.


Like all machines, furnaces become less efficient as they age. For furnaces, this means more energy used to provide the same amount of heating. When your furnace hits a certain point, regular maintenance can only do so much for you, and replacing your furnace can potentially help you save on your utility bills.

However, this is not a guarantee. The efficiency of your heater also depends on your ductwork, which needs to be properly cleaned and sealed for everything to work correctly. If this is not the case, a new furnace will do very little for your savings. If you plan on buying a new furnace to save money over time, also be prepared to have your ductwork and possibly your insulation examined as well.

Furnace Size

If you have an old furnace, there's a chance it may be larger than necessary for your home. Newer furnaces have lower BTUs and higher efficiency percentages. If your old furnace has a 75 percent efficiency rating, it may be worth it to drop the money for something that's between 90 to 95 percent. A repair professional can probably tell you what size furnace you need for your specific home and whether it would be worth it over time to buy a new furnace.

If an upgrade would only provide minimal savings and your furnace otherwise has no operational issues, it's probably better to wait.

Safety Concerns

Older furnaces don't just potentially waste money; they can be health hazards as well. Old units may leave your air very dry, which can cause dry skin, nosebleeds, dry throats or more severe allergy symptoms. In worse cases, cracks in the unit's heat exchanger could let carbon monoxide leak into your home. If this is the case, a replacement is almost certainly necessary.

For more information, contact a heating installation specialist like West Country Heating & AC.