There comes a time in the life of every furnace when a homeowner has to ask: Repair or replace? Too often, there are warning signs leading up to the end of a furnace’s life, but they are ignored by homeowners hopeful that it will, “just last a little bit longer.” It’s not long after that the system stops working and either needs emergency repair, if possible, or total replacement.
There’s a better way. When you have questions about your heating system, call Ambient Edge at (888) 628-5890. We can give you answers, schedule repair service, provide 24-hour emergency repairs, and even talk you through a timeline for replacement before it becomes an emergency.
When the Timing Is Right
If your furnace has been acting strange or you believe you’ll be in need of a repair or replacement soon, have the team from Ambient Edge out before the weather gets cold.
Because heating systems are heavily in use in the winter, they break more often in the winter. We work hard to stay in front of every service call, but when it gets really busy, the wait for service appointments can be longer.
Have an Annual Maintenance Visit Before Winter Arrives
This small investment can help you determine if your furnace will be up and running in good condition when the cold sets in or if you’ll need repairs or a system replacement.
The further in advance you know about major expenses such as furnace replacement, the longer you’ll have to analyze your options, and the more time you’ll have to budget for the cost.
Additionally, the purchase of a new heating system can sometimes be higher in winter, when they are in high demand. The longer you have to plan ahead, the better you can time your purchase to take advantage of any potential federal, state, or local incentives or rebates for energy-efficient systems.
How to Know if Your Heating System Is on the Fritz
Sometimes homeowners are caught completely off guard when the heating system has problems. But often there are warning signs.
If your furnace has a damaged combustion chamber it can allow deadly carbon monoxide to disperse in your home. Hundreds of people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning, so it’s not an issue to ignore or delay.
If your furnace pilot flame burns yellow instead of blue, there is rust on the pipes, you see soot around the furnace or you or your family members are feeling the potential effects of carbon monoxide poisoning (flu-like symptoms and disorientation), it’s an emergency. Get out of the house and call emergency services right away.
In this situation, you’ll need to have your heating system replaced.
Utility Bills Are Rising
If you take a look at a year’s worth of your energy bills or your 12-month summary from your utility company, you can start to see patterns in your energy usage. Bills are usually higher at the height of summer and winter due to increased air conditioning and heat use. But if you see unexpected spikes or gradual, sustained rises, it could indicate your system is operating inefficiently.
That could mean it’s on the decline, or simply that it needs some repairs.
Calls for Repairs Are Happening More Often
At first, it seems like small things — minor repairs of small parts. Then the repairs get bigger and more serious and the repair costs start to mount.
Heating systems in good working order don’t need constant repair. And at a certain point, you need to weigh the costs of repair against the cost of a replacement. Repairs just won’t be worth it.
Aside from the noises a furnace makes when it turns off and on, it’s a pretty quiet system. If yours is banging, knocking, screeching, or buzzing, call on Ambient Edge for assistance.
The problem could be as simple as ductwork or a part that has come loose, or it could be as serious as a failing motor.
Repairing or Replacing
There are several common rules of thumb when considering whether to repair or replace your heating system.
- If your furnace is more than 15 years old
- Repair costs are more than 50% of the cost of replacing the unit
- If you’re planning on selling your home within five years
The typical rule of thumb is called the $5,000 rule.
Multiply the age of your furnace by the cost to repair it. If that cost is more than $5,000, it’s time to replace the system. If it’s less, then you might consider repairs depending on a variety of factors.
For example, if your heating system is 12 years old and the estimated repairs are $1,200, the total would be $14,400. Time to replace that heating system. However, if your system is nine years old and the estimated repairs are $400, the total is $3,600, so you might consider simply doing the repairs.
Exceptions for Older Heaters
In a situation where your system is older than 15 years old, but the repair cost is low, you may still want to consider replacing your heater, as the average cost over time is likely to climb quickly. Furnaces have a lifespan of about 15 to 20 years. So, if your older furnace needs repair, while it might be minor this time, the repairs will likely become more frequent and expensive in a short period of time.
Schedule Your Heating System Maintenance Assessment Today
Call Ambient Edge at (888) 628-5890 or fill out the contact form. We will perform a maintenance and assessment visit so we can let you know the status of your heating system, if it is in need of any minor or major repairs, and help give you a timeline for when it may need to be replaced.
For furnace repairs or emergencies, we also provide 24-hour service, free estimates, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.