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Should I Repair or Replace My Furnace?

The Homeowner’s Guide to Caring for Your Furnace

If your heater is struggling against the Cincinnati chill, it may be time to repair or replace your furnace. Understanding your options for a better-working furnace will help you avoid rising from bed with fresh icicles hanging from your nose.

Deciding whether to repair or replace isn’t always straightforward. There are a number of factors homeowners need to consider before scheduling a repair or replacement.

Consider the Lifespan

The U.S. Department of Energy says a furnace should last approximately 15 years before needing to assess it’s efficiency. However, every heating system is different and can last differing amounts of time depending on the quality, brand, and maintenance of the equipment. Typically, however, the signs of deterioration occur during this timeframe, and homeowners should consider replacement.

If your furnace is underperforming despite recent service, it’s probably best to get an upgrade rather than continuing to pay for repairs. In general, follow these guidelines:

  • < 15 years old: Extend furnace’s lifespan by having it repaired
  • > 15 years old: Consider replacing furnace with new system, especially if repair needs increase

Consider the Cost

Comparing the cost of a repair versus a full replacement is also a good way to decide the best course of action. Experts say homeowners should replace their furnace when repair costs exceed 50 percent of replacement costs. This rule is applied mainly to younger units.

For older units—those nearing 75 percent of their lifespan—consider purchasing a new system once repair costs exceed one-third of the replacement cost. At Schneller Knochelmann Plumbing, Heating & Air, our experienced HVAC professionals will provide you with a competitive, fair rate regardless of your repair or replacement needs.

Consider the Future

It may be surprising that things like retirement and moving could impact your decision, but they do! A new furnace might not increase the overall value of your home, but if you’re planning to sell in the next two or three years, a new or freshly repaired system will be much more appealing to prospective buyers.

Likewise, if you’re planning on retiring soon, investing in a new furnace for your Cincinnati home may be a smart choice. If the system is outdated, getting a new one will end up saving you money on repeat repairs. But if you’ve replaced your unit in the last 10 years, continuing with repairs is likely a better option than getting a replacement.

Consider Your Safety

When a unit emits carbon monoxide, it needs to be replaced immediately. Known as the silent killer, a CO leak can have deadly consequences for you and your family. In fact, between 2010 and 2015, over 2,200 people died from carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes. Most of these deaths occurred in the winter (when your furnace is being used more often).

Look out for the following signs to determine if your system is emitting carbon monoxide:

  • Yellow burner flame instead of blue
  • Excess moisture on walls, windows, and other surfaces
  • Rusted pipes
  • Soot around furnace
  • Absence of upward draft in chimney
  • Nausea, disorientation, headaches, and flu-like symptoms

Need Help? Talk to the Experts

Don’t make the decision to repair or replace your furnace alone. The HVAC professionals at Schneller Knochelmann have been servicing the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area for over 80 years, and we know when it’s time to say out with the old and in with the new!

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