When should you replace a furnace?

A well-cared-for heater can last 15-20 years or more.

When should you replace a furnace? If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably asked yourself this question at least once. And it’s a question that can keep you up at night: the cost, the time it takes to install, time off of work to let the HVAC contractor do the work: all of these are legitimate concerns. In this article, we discuss when it is appropriate to consider replacing your furnace versus repairing it.

Reason #1: Your Furnace is 16-20 years old.

furnace old

A good place to start if you’re considering replacing your furnace is its age. The average life expectancy of modern furnaces in homes today is 16 to 20 years. If your furnace is close to this age, it is best to start shopping. In fact, we are running a promotion this year for $1500 off new furnaces, and encouraging our customers to consider replacing if their unit is 10 years or older. The driving motivation behind this promotion is logistics: because of the supply chain disruption, it is taking much longer than normal to obtain replacement units. So, in general:

Repair: if your furnace is less than 15 years old

Replace: if your furnace system is over 15 years old

Reason #2: Your energy bills have gone up.

Apart from the federal 25C tax credit, Virginia may offer additional incentives for energy-efficient home improvements.

A higher utility bill can, of course, be a measure of rising utility costs. However, it can also be a symptom of a failing furnace. If you’re wondering when you should replace a furnace, your utility bills can provide a clue. A good place to start is by comparing utility bills from the previous year to the current year. If there is a significant difference, you might consider a replacement; you may be giving the utility company the same money that could be paying for a new furnace. Here’s a good guideline:

Repair: if your furnace system is less than 15 years old and the cost of a repair is less than half the cost of a replacement.

Replace: if your furnace system is more than 15 years old and requires a costly repair to maintain efficiency.

Reason #3: You've Repaired Your Furnace Multiple Times in the Past 2 Years

repair man vacuuming

Furnaces are a lot like cars: the older they get, the more they tend to need repairs. It doesn’t take long to spend $500 just to keep an oil or natural gas furnace running. A furnace will experience most of its breakdowns in the final two years of its lifespan, and the older a furnace gets, the harder it can become to obtain replacement parts. So not only will you be spending a lot on the repair, you may be spending a lot of time waiting for an outdated part to arrive.

Reason #4: Your Home Isn't Being Heated Evenly


Have you noticed that certain rooms in your house are warmer, where others are colder? There are a couple possible reasons for this, but it may be that your furnace has lost its efficiency. A symptom of this is the inability of the unit to distribute heat evenly throughout your home.

Reason #5: Your Furnace is Making Strange Noises


Old furnaces will often start to make some strange noises toward the end of their lifespan. Have you heard any banging, popping, rattling or squealing noises coming from your furnace? This could be a sign that it’s time for a replacement. Another noise that is common with older furnaces is the blower running excessively; this is caused by a variety of things such as unsecured ductwork or motor failure. 

Reason #6: Your Home is Dry or Dusty

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Old furnaces often lack the ability to moisturize and clean the air in your home. Has anyone in your family had their allergies aggravated by excess dust? Signs may also include frequent dust accumulation, static shocks, drooping plants, furniture cracking and musical instruments that do not stay in tune. These symptoms are not, of course, concrete reasons to replace a furnace by themselves but, coupled with the other concerns mentioned here, should be taken into consideration?

So When should you replace a furnace?


If you’re considering replacing your furnace based on what has been mentioned in this article: take heart. Yes, a new furnace is an investment. But we are able to work with just about any situation. Brooks Heating and Air offers 12 month same as cash financing, 0% interest for 18 months, and now through November we are offering $1500 off early replacements. We are particularly fond of Lennox units. Don’t panic! Give us a shout and we can help you make the best determination.

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