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When to Replace a Furnace by Jesse Bluma

When to Replace a Furnace

Many times it is more cost-effective to have a furnace repaired, rather than replaced.  It may be best to buy a new one if the furnace is over 15 years old, if there is a common problem in the neighborhood with the furnaces placed in by the builder, if the heat exchanger or control module no longer work.  

The three basic types of heaters include gas, oil, and heat pumps (these are systems that have heat and air conditioning connected to the water pipes).  Below are a few tips to use when buying a new furnace.  Depending upon your skill level and time you may wish to install your own furnace.


1.  Replace your furnace before needed, in the summer you may find lower prices and better availability of days and times for estimates and installation.

2.  Check with the Better Business Bureau before calling for an estimate.

3.  Have the model, serial number, and photo of your current furnace ready before making a call.

4.  Make sure the salesman comes in person to calculate estimate.

5.  Ask as to the length of time for installation.

6.  If a pump furnace/heat pump is being installed, be aware of water shut off valves and inform neighbors of water shut off as needed.

7.  Be home, watch the process, and take photos as the unit is being installed.

8.  Make sure paint is available for any possible touchups to surrounding drywall or furnace door. 

9.  Mark your calendar to replace filter (typically every thirty to sixty day--see manufacturer’s instructions).  Filter replacement will depend upon use, climate, geography, allergies, pets, et cetera.

10.  Purchase extra filters and store them for easy replacement.

11.  Use LED (light-emitting diode) candles, as wax candles produce soot that clog filters.

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  3. I like the idea you pointed out on #9. Marking the date on your calendar when you have to replace the filter is a good idea. The filter is used to keep dust and debris from entering the furnace, and knowing when you have to change it will assure you that your unit is working at peak performance at all times. And while you are at it, you can also check the other parts of the furnace. Make sure to inspect if the pipe is free of holes, as hot air can come out of those and make it hard for your furnace to heat the room.

  4. Tip number one is quite crafty! It would be a wise move financially if you replace your furnace in the summer since the demand is low and prices are likely to go the same direction. Don’t wait for your unit to break down before you decide to get another one. You may want to consider repairs, but remember that the overall cost of having your unit repaired repeatedly might exceed the price of a new unit. So in the end, it would be better to get a new one.

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