Sooner or later, every furnace ‘dies’. Ideally, you don’t want to wait for the unfixable breakdown to happen in the dead of winter before shopping for a replacement. Begin your research before you’ve got an emergency and you’ll have time to choose a furnace and service company wisely.
How Old is your Furnace?
Is your furnace 15 years old? It’s unwise to trust it for more than a few years longer. Age is one reason to start shopping now. Repair costs in relation to age are another reason to start thinking about a replacement.
If your 10-year-old furnace needs repairs that cost 50% of the installed price of a new furnace, then a replacement can make more sense than a repair. But if your 20-year-old furnace needs work, then even a small repair bill can mean it’s time to replace the old clunker.
Has your furnace technician raised concerns with you about the condition of your furnace’s heat exchanger? This is the heart of the furnace and it’s impractical to repair it. Furnace replacement is the often the only option if the heat exchanger is at the end of its useful life.
Efficiency is another reason to look at a furnace replacement, even if your older furnace is working fine. Moving from a furnace with an overall efficiency of 75% to a new furnace that delivers 95% efficiency saves you more than $20 per month for every $100 a month you spend on fuel. And there are many furnaces installed 20 years ago that only deliver 75% efficiency today. A new high-efficiency furnace can more than pay for itself over time.
Fuel type is another issue. If you’ve got natural gas available where you live but your furnace uses something else, considered this when you switch to a new furnace. Natural gas is currently much less expensive than any other home heating fuel, and this is unlikely to change in the future.
Replace It Before A Basement Renovation
If you are planning to finish your basement in the near future, this is also a good reason to consider replacing an older furnace before your basement renovation. It’s a lot easier to get the old furnace out and the new one in before your basement is finished, which means less risk to newly-finished floors and walls. New furnaces can also be substantially smaller than old ones. Finishing your basement after a furnace replacement lets you make full use of any extra space freed up.
Make sure that the heating contractor you hire is properly licensed and provides a complete written contract for the work to be done. The Canadian Home Builder’s Association offers Canada’s best free and unbiased information on how to hire a contractor the smart and safe way. Visit www.getitinwriting.ca and for even more home tips, visit Home Maintenance on the blog.