Is it time to replace your furnace?


Can your furnace be fixed, or is it time for a replacement? What is the most cost-effective solution that will also keep your home warm? Before you make a costly decision, read our article to quickly educate yourself on your options.

Should you fix or replace your furnace?

Do the math! Furnace age and cost of repairs should factor into your decision.

It’s time to replace your furnace if:

  • Your furnace is beyond three-quarters of its life expectancy – but how do you know? Ask your contractor or check the label of your furnace for the manufacturer’s date. Most furnaces last 15 – 20 years. They can last 5 – 6 years longer if they are regularly maintained
  • Repairs would cost more than a third of the replacement cost

Efficiency Saves You Money

Today, the average furnace is 80% efficient, which means that 20% of the fuel energy is wasted. But that’s the average furnace. Some furnaces are up to 98.5% efficient. Check the product information when you’re considering buying a furnace and look for the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating.

A high-efficiency rating means that you will spend more money initially when purchasing your furnace, but you will also accrue savings during the cold months. For ease, let’s say that a highly efficient furnace (95%) will cost you $1,800 more than a less efficient furnace (80%). A 15% increase in AFUE (from 80% to 95%) would save you around $300 per year. If the added initial cost is $1,800, that’s a six-year payback, which is worth the higher upfront cost if you will be in your home for longer than six years.

Are your ducts sealed?

In some cases, the problem may not be with the furnace; it could be the ducts. Ducts transport warm air to all the rooms in your house. If your ducts are no longer adequately sealed, warm air could be escaping into spaces you don’t want to be heated, such as crawl spaces, your attic, or the basement. Have a specialist look at your ducts to access if they need to be repaired. Simple fixes such as taping up gaps, reinsulating, or even removing insulation can improve duct efficiency. To ensure that all gaps are closed, you can hire someone to seal your ducts with a substance that makes a rubber-like seal over every single hole in your ducts. This generally costs anywhere from $500 – $1,500 and can lower your heating bill by 20%! So, before you buy a new furnace, be sure to have your ducts checked out.

Schedule an Energy Audit

In a similar vein as ducts, sometimes your furnace isn’t the problem, your home is. Check with your electricity company about having an energy audit done:

Georgia Power

Jackson EMC

Sawnee EMC

Walton EMC

The auditor will look at your home and make recommendations to make your home more energy efficient. Attic-floor insulation, sealing windows, blowing insulation into walls and along the top of foundation walls can measurably improve your home’s energy efficiency. Depending on the current state of your home, you could save between 5 – 25%, which equals smaller bills and could even mean you can purchase a smaller furnace.

If you’re still perplexed about what you should do, just give us a call at Stuart Pro! We’re always happy to listen and to make recommendations that will save you money and keep your family comfortable year-round.