Should you repair or replace your furnace?

Heating and cooling systems represent one of the most significant investments a homeowner can make. But too few consumers look “under the hood.” Your friends at MTB would like to share a few facts and tips about your furnace — including some things to consider when repairing or replacing it.

Whether it’s a conventional unit or a high-efficiency model, a furnace lasts, on average, over 15 years. And with this kind of mileage, a quality furnace equals a smart long-term investment.

So how does it work? In the simplest terms, a furnace has a burner (in gas furnaces) or a heating element (in electric furnaces); a heat exchanger; and a blower. Once the heat is created, the exchanger separates combustion gas from breathable air. Then the blower sends clean air through the duct system into a home. When one component of the system isn’t working, or isn’t performing to its full capacity, it affects the entire operation. Which, in turn, affects the delivery of heat to your home. This makes it very important to choose a well-built furnace, with proven reliability.

Here are 5 things to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace your furnace:

  1. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. So, if your system could potentially be putting your family at risk, it needs to be replaced ASAP. Accidental carbon monoxide deaths spike during the winter when furnaces are frequently used. It’s important to have carbon monoxide detectors in your home, but beyond this safeguard, you should take action if you notice any of the following: rusting on your pipes; your furnace’s burner flame is yellow instead of blue; or there is moisture collecting on the windows and walls. If you or your family members begin to notice symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning such as disorientation, headaches, nausea or other flu-like symptoms, evacuate your home immediately.

  2. As we mentioned earlier, furnaces should last over 15 years. If your furnace is getting up there in its lifespan, has been serviced at least once in the last year and still needs costly repairs, it may be time to replace it. Generally speaking, when the cost of repairs surpasses 30 percent of the cost of replacing your furnace, we recommend having one of our comfort advisors provide you with a quote for a replacement furnace or complete system.  

  3. Pay attention to your heating bills year over year. If there is a significant cost difference, your furnace is likely struggling to keep your house warm with internal parts that have been worn down.

  4. If you’re constantly adjusting your thermostat because different areas of your home are warmer than others, it may be time to consider a repair or replacement.

  5. Furnaces aren’t known to be particularly quiet, but if your furnace is making unusual noises that increasingly get louder, pay attention. You want to be able to describe the noises to an MTB technician, so they can determine the best course of action.

When it comes to furnaces, we look at everything on a case-by-case basis and give up-front estimates. Call the MTB experts at (704) 321-9250 to schedule your inspection today.

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