Should You Repair or Replace Your Household Heating System?
When the winter weather arrives in Southeastern Michigan, the temperature can regularly drop below freezing. So, for you and your family to remain comfortable, it’s imperative that you can count on your household heating system. However, even if you keep up with maintenance and take fantastic care of your furnace, it can still experience mechanical problems. Dealing with a furnace malfunction or breakdown is always frustrating. However, in many cases, the most difficult part of the experience is deciding whether you should have the problem repaired or simply replace the appliance. In truth, every situation is different, and to ensure you’re making a prudent choice, you’ll want to evaluate multiple factors.
How Old Is Your Heating System?
Typically, the most important variable to consider when you’re thinking about replacing your furnace is the age of the appliance. On average, heating systems that are properly cared for will remain productive for around 15 to 20 years. In many cases, a furnace will begin to see its performance, efficiency, and overall health decline after around 10 to 15 years. If you’ve had your heating unit for more than a decade and it’s having serious equipment issues, replacing the appliance may be the wisest course of action. As a general rule, it’s not worth spending big chunks of money on repairs if you’ll end up replacing the system within the next few years anyway. Plus, after you have the current issue fixed, there could very well be another issue to deal with in a few months.
That said, if your furnace is less than 10 years old, it will usually make more sense to have it repaired than to replace it entirely. New heating systems cost quite a bit of money, so if you can still get another five or more productive years out of your current unit, you should probably wait to invest in a replacement furnace. Granted, there are exceptions to these rules, and you’ll certainly want to consider other factors as well.
Have There Been Frequent Problems?
Another thing you’ll want to consider when making this important decision is whether or not your furnace’s current issue is an isolated incident. Even if your heating system is getting up there in years, it may not be time to replace it yet if it’s only had one relatively minor issue. However, if this is just the latest in a long list of equipment failures, then the chances are that it won’t be the last. When an aging heating system starts to have frequent mechanical problems, it usually will just continue to get worse until you pull the trigger on replacing it.
When the decision gets more difficult is when a fairly new heating system is having regular issues. Usually, when a furnace is less than 10 years old, you shouldn’t have to worry about frequent mechanical problems. However, there are rare cases when a young appliance will regularly malfunction or break down. When you’re dealing with that, you should let our team at Matheson Heating Air Plumbing give your heating unit a thorough inspection. Our technicians are very skilled, and they may be able to get to the bottom of why your young furnace is having frequent issues. It may turn out that there’s an underlying problem that can be fixed. In that case, we’ll do everything we can to get the appliance back on track. However, there may be something permanent wrong with the system, in which case you may be better off replacing it than continuing to pay for repairs all the time.
How Expensive Is the Potential Repair?
Regardless of your financial situation, it’s worth evaluating the financial side of things when choosing between repairing or replacing your furnace. When it comes to furnace repairs, some fixes are much more expensive than others. Typically, the price of the repair job is correlated with the severity of the issue. If the repair that your heating system needs is minor and inexpensive, it’s almost always worth getting it done. The challenges start to arise when you’re having to invest large sums of money in heating repairs.
One rule that many homeowners use is that they will always replace the appliance if the repair cost is more than half as much as the replacement system. So, if you were planning to spend $3,000 on a new furnace, and your current unit was going to cost $1,800 to have fixed, it’s probably not cost-effective to have it repaired. Instead, you’d be better off putting that $1,800 toward the cost of the replacement. That said, if your current system is more than 10 years old, you may lower the threshold a bit. For example, if you expect to be replacing your furnace within the next year or two, it may not be worth spending even $700 or $800 to have it repaired. That type of situation is a bit of a gray area, and you have to decide whether or not the best option is to simply move up the timeline and invest in a new system sooner.
Have Your Heating Costs Been Rising?
Generally, a heating system is never more efficient or effective than when it’s new. And as the appliance gets older, the wear and tear will cause its overall performance to gradually decline. One of the symptoms of this decline is that the heating unit’s energy efficiency will worsen, meaning that you’ll be spending more money each month to keep your home comfortable. Scheduling professional maintenance every year will slow this deterioration down, but you can’t stave it off forever.
If your furnace is relatively old, you should consider the trend of its efficiency when deciding whether or not you should replace it. If your monthly heating costs have been increasing over the last year or two, that should probably influence your decision. The odds are that when you replace the unit, the new furnace you purchase will be quite a bit more efficient than the aging appliance. So, you’ll immediately start saving money every month on your energy bills.
Are You Planning to Sell Your Home?
If you have plans to sell your home and move any time in the next few years, that should impact your choice as well. Although buying a new furnace won’t increase the value of your house, it could make it significantly easier to sell it. If potential buyers see that you have an old, worn-down heating system, that may turn them from the idea of purchasing the home. However, if they know that you have a new, energy-efficient furnace that’s in great condition, that will be one thing they know they don’t have to worry about. Because the Michigan winters can get so chilly, the quality of the heating unit is probably something that most homebuyers will be factoring into their decision.
Since way back in 1946, we at Matheson Heating Air Plumbing have been proudly serving residents of Southeastern Michigan. We are a family-owned business, and our goal is to provide 100% customer satisfaction on every job we do. Our expert team can provide you with high-quality heating, cooling, plumbing, and indoor air quality services. Give us a call at Matheson Heating Air Plumbing today if you’d like to schedule an appointment or learn more.