When Should I Replace My Furnace? A Portland Tech Explains

Replacing your furnace can be an investment so you probably want to make absolutely sure that you need to replace your furnace before pulling the trigger on the decision.

To help you decide if it’s time to retire your furnace, we’ve listed three situations that are good indicators that you need to replace it, including:

  1. Your furnace is 15+ years old

  2. Your furnace needs frequent repairs

  3. Your energy bills have increased despite consistent usage

While we can’t know for sure if your furnace needs to be replaced without an in-home inspection, we’ll walk you through the above situations in detail to help you determine if your furnace needs a replacement.

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Situation #1: Your furnace is 15+ years old

If your furnace is over 15 years old and hasn’t been maintained, you may likely need to replace it.

According to the Department of Energy, the average lifespan for a furnace is 15-20 years. The length of a furnace’s lifespan depends on its level of usage and how well it had been maintained throughout its life. If the furnace has been properly maintained and is 15 years old, it might be fine for a few more years.

On the other hand, furnaces that are 15 years old and improperly maintained will have parts breaking down from age. You can tell if your furnace is deteriorating if you encounter the following signs:

  • Furnace makes odd noises

  • Furnace unevenly heats your home

  • Furnace increases the humidity in your home

  • Furnace has visible rust and cracks

  • Furnace produces excessive amounts of soot or dust

If your system is 15 years old and you’ve encountered the above problems, it’s probably time to replace your furnace.

Situation #2: Your furnace needs frequent repairs

If your furnace has needed frequent repairs over the past 2 years, you should consider replacing it instead of continuing to pour money into a dying system.

A good way to see if you’d save more by replacing your furnace instead of repairing it is to use the 50% rule. Basically, if your repair costs over 2 years total up to be 50% or more of what a new system would cost, you should strongly consider buying a new furnace instead.

For example, if you need to replace your furnace’s heat exchanger, you might be looking at a $1,500 repair cost on average. The heat exchanger is expensive to replace because it is a crucial part of the furnace and is responsible for heating your home’s air. Let’s say installing a new furnace would cost you $2,300. So, replacing your heat exchanger is 65% of a furnace replacement cost. In this scenario, you’re better off replacing your furnace entirely instead of repairing it.

In conclusion, you’ll want to contact an HVAC contractor to get a quote on a furnace replacement if your furnace has needed multiple repairs in the past 2 years. Apply the 50% rule to your last 2 years of repair bills and see if it would cost less to replace your furnace.

Situation #3: Your energy bills have increased despite consistent usage

If you’ve noticed higher energy bills in the past 2 years despite your heating usage staying the same, it might be time to replace your furnace.

When your furnace approaches the end of its lifespan, it becomes less efficient and needs to consume more energy to produce the same amount of heat it typically does. Once your furnace becomes inefficient, it makes more sense to replace it with a new, high-efficiency furnace to reduce your monthly operating costs.

But how do you know for sure if a new, more efficient furnace is worth the upfront investment?

You’ll want to compare your current and potential new furnace’s AFUE ratings. An AFUE rating stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency and the rating measures how efficiently a furnace converts fuel into energy. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient your furnace is and the more return-on-investment you’ll get on your energy bills. For example, if your furnace has a 60% AFUE rating, only 60% of the energy consumed by your furnace is used to create heat and the other 40% is lost.

So, if your current furnace has a 60% AFUE rating and you want to buy a furnace with an 80% AFUE rating, you can potentially save $7,500 over 15 years on your heating bills according to this savings calculator. Even if your current furnace has the same or higher AFUE rating as a new furnace, AFUE ratings of furnaces decrease with age, making buying a new furnace the more efficient choice.

Depending on the gap between your current and new furnace’s AFUE ratings, you’ll most likely get your initial investment back in monthly cost savings over the furnace’s lifespan. Not to mention many utility companies provide rebates for new furnace installations so you can save even more money on your furnace replacement.

To see if buying a new furnace will help you save money on your energy bills, contact a Portland furnace installer for a free estimate.

Want a free quote on your furnace replacement? Contact Four Seasons

When you hire Four Seasons for your furnace replacement, we’ll help you schedule a free, in-home estimate. During the estimate, we’ll discuss your heating needs and budget with you then provide you with honest system recommendations. Once you’ve signed off on the quote, we’ll install your new, high-efficiency furnace in one day.

Schedule with us today!