Important Questions to Ask Before Replacing a Furnace.
Replacing a furnace is a big investment for your home and with proper care, it should last about 15 to 20 years. While it’s great these appliances have a long lifespan, too many homeowners let a rundown HVAC system live in their house for too long.

Once a furnace ages, it becomes less efficient and needs more frequent repairs, leading you to wonder if it’s time to spring for a new system. Whether your energy bills are skyrocketing or you’re struggling to keep areas of your home warm, here’s all you need to know to decide if it’s time to replace your furnace.

What Type of Furnace Should I Get?

The majority of homes with central heat will have a natural gas, oil, or electric furnace. Natural gas furnaces are energy efficient and clean burning, using a pilot light to ignite the gas in the system. The gas then fuels the burners and heats the air.

Oil furnaces aren’t common in newer homes. They convert oil into heat and are usually found in colder climates. Older homes may use oil furnaces because they lack the ductwork necessary for natural gas or electric heating.

Electric furnaces are similar to gas furnaces because they use the same internal components to heat your home, but they don’t have a pilot light. They use a blower to draw air in and push heated air out.

Can I Install a New Furnace on My Own?

The average homeowner should not try to replace their own furnace. This is a complicated and potentially dangerous job that should only be left to the professionals.

Image: The inside of a furnace. When it comes to replacing a furnace, this job is best left for the pros.

How Do I Know It’s Time to Replace a Furnace?

  • Repair costs outweigh the cost of a new system: If you have constant repairs for your furnace, it may be more cost-effective to replace it. Consider if your repairs have already reached half the price of a new system.
  • The system is 15 years old or older: The average furnace will last about 15 years. If you have annual maintenance, you may be able to add a few years, but it’s generally good to replace your furnace when it reaches this milestone.
  • Part of the home still feels cold even while the furnace is on: If some parts of your home don’t feel as warm as they should, it could indicate that your heating system is struggling to keep up with the demands. You won’t have the comfort you desire and pushing your furnace harder will only increase energy bills and add stress to the system.
  • Drastic increase in energy bills: An older or ailing furnace will not run as efficiently as a new furnace, not to mention that new furnaces are designed to be more efficient overall. If you see a drastic spike in your energy bills, it may be time to look into replacing your furnace.

When is the Best Time of Year to Replace a Furnace?

Furnace replacements can be done at any time of the year. If it’s not an urgent situation, you may prefer to have your furnace installed during the early spring or fall. This is because HVAC professionals are less busy in the interim or off seasons than they are at the height of winter, which is when homeowners are likely to run into emergency furnace repairs.

Image: a calendar with it's pages open, representing time. There is no "right" time to replace a furnace.

How Big Will My New Furnace Be?

Getting the right size furnace for your home is important, which is why it’s good to work with an HVAC professional. They can help you determine the ideal size furnace for your home’s needs by performing a heating load calculation test in your home. This test reveals how well the air circulates through your entire home and the quality of the heated air to choose the most efficient furnace.

In addition, if you made changes to your home since installing your previous furnace, such as adding insulation or new windows and doors, this factors into the size of the new furnace you may need.

How Much Does a New Furnace Cost?

The cost of your new furnace depends on several factors, including the type of furnace you’re getting, any supporting installation like ventilation or ductwork, and the size of the heating system you’ve chosen. Some homes may require more than one furnace as well, which increases the costs.

Should I Replace My Furnace and AC at the Same Time?

If the air conditioner is also reaching the end of its life expectancy, it’s recommended to replace both systems at the same time. If you have an older cooling system and a newer heating system, you may put unnecessary strain on the internal components. Both the cooling and the heating systems rely on the same equipment.

How Long Does It Take to Install a New Furnace?

Generally, furnace installation or replacement can be done in one day. If you’re switching the type of furnace or you have to add ventilation or ductwork, this could add several days to the timeline.

Will my New Furnace be Energy Efficient?

You can choose an energy efficient furnace for your new or replacement furnace. The annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, measures the efficiency of a furnace. A high-efficiency furnace will have an AFUE of 90 or more.

Ready to replace your furnace? Contact the pros at ASI to schedule your appointment.