Should I Repair or Replace My Furnace? A Portland Tech Explains

On the fence about repairing your furnace or installing a new one?

We recommend replacing instead of repairing your furnace when:

  • The unit is 18+ years old
  • You start paying for a lot of repairs
  • Heating bills have increased year over year

We’ll go over each situation, but first let’s discuss when you might be better off paying for a repair.

Need to talk to a Portland tech about your furnace? Four Seasons is here to help. Check out our furnace services or schedule a service appointment online or at (503) 538-1950.

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When a furnace repair may be worth it

Sometimes, paying to repair your furnace can definitely be worth not having to pay for an entirely new system.

A good rule of thumb: If the cost of the repair multiplied by the age of your furnace is less than the cost of a new furnace, the repair will likely be worth it.

For example, if a repair will cost $300 and you have a seven-year-old furnace:

$300 x 7 = $2,100

Considering the cost of a new furnace ranges from $2,295 to $5,500, you’d probably be better off paying for the $300 repair.

Consider replacing your furnace instead of repairing it when...

...repairs start adding up

As a furnace gets older, parts naturally start to wear out. The American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers estimate the average life of a gas furnace is 18 years.

That said, if you’re having to repair your system or replace a part every few months, that could be a sign that your furnace doesn’t have much life left.

Following the general rule above, we recommend replacing your furnace when the cost of the repair multiplied by the furnace’s age is more than the cost of a new furnace.

As an example, let’s say a repair for a 12-year-old system is going to cost $350. Using the rule of thumb formula above:

$350 x 12 = $4,200

Given that $4,200 is the higher end of a new furnace cost, you might be better off investing in a new unit.

...your furnace is 20+ years old

Furnaces don’t last forever. In fact, the American Society of Heating & Air Conditioning Engineers estimates the average life of a gas furnace is 18 years.

If your unit is approaching that age, it’s likely nearing the end of its lifespan. That means sinking several hundred dollars into a furnace that could die soon probably isn’t worth it compared to investing that money in a new system.

Wondering how you can make your relatively new furnace last longer?

The best thing you can do for your system is to maintain it regularly. To help your furnace live longer, we recommend the following:

  • Have a pro perform annual tune-ups
  • Change the filter monthly or quarterly (depending on the type of air filter your system uses)

... energy bills keep increasing

While it’s normal for heating costs to fluctuate slightly each year, a steady increase isn’t common.

If you notice energy bills increasing year over year—and you aren’t changing any energy usage habits (i.e. hosting guests)—an aging furnace could be the culprit.

See, furnaces lose efficiency as they get older. And lower energy efficiency means more energy usage, which equates to higher heating bills.

A tune-up will help improve efficiency if your system is relatively new, but won’t do much good for a furnace that’s on its way out.

Need help from a Portland pro?

Call us at (503) 538-1950 or schedule a service appointment online. Our furnace techs will give you an honest opinion on whether your furnace needs to be repaired or replaced, then provide an upfront quote for the job.

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