Fact-based ways to decide to repair or replace furnace – Shaw Local

What’s worse than a broken furnace? Paying too much for repairs that may not last, or buying a new unit when the original one was fixable.

How to decide? Furnace age, cost of the repair, and savings from a new energy efficient model are the main considerations when deciding whether to repair or replace your furnace. Just like deciding if paying for “just one more car repair” is better than buying a new model, replacing a furnace is an expensive decision, too.

According to Tom Eppers, co-owner, Dowe & Wagner, a full-service heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning company serving residential and commercial customers in Illinois and Wisconsin: “Heating and air-conditioning systems are the biggest users of energy in the home – up to 75 percent of the utility bill. A new high efficiency furnace can save up to 50 percent in operating costs over a 10-year-old furnace. Many 1990 and earlier model furnaces have efficiencies of 65 percent or less. The minimum efficiency furnace that can be sold in the U.S. today is 78 percent. Furnaces are available that are up to 94 percent efficient.”

Eppers advises customers to get an estimate for repairs, and compare it to the cost of a new system. If the repairs will cost more than one-third of a new unit, buying a new energy efficient system makes sense. Factoring in age is important, as the average forced-air furnace lasts between 15-20 years.

Experts agree that the top consideration is safety. If the heat exchanger (the metal wall separating burning fuel from the heated air) is cracked and may leak toxic carbon monoxide gas, replacement is highly recommended. Other repairs may safely fix up an older system, which can provide a few more years of service.

Dowe & Wagner : 11215 Commercial Street, Richmond, IL 60071 : 815.678.3000 : http://doweandwagner.com/