Your home is an investment, as are the appliances inside it.
When it comes to putting money into protecting that investment, you’re often torn at what is the best value between repairs and replacement.
A lot of factors go into these types of calculations and the rules of thumb for one system rarely correlate to another.
When it comes to the furnace, you definitely want to be aware of the facts ahead of time. Knowing whether you should replace a blower motor or buy a new furnace means a lot to the home in general.
A home freezing from a lack of furnace can mean mounting repair costs to pipes and other appliances damaged by unexpected cold.
Living in the southern part of the country doesn’t mean any freeze, it just moves the timetable.
With energy costs what they are, you also want to ensure your furnace is getting the heat it does generate to the places you want it. Nobody wants to pay for a warm garage and a cold house.
Read on to get the pros and cons of repair and replacement for your coziest appliance.
Replace a Blower Motor or Buy a New Furnace?
Age plays a large part in making this decision.
The older a furnace, the more likely you will save money by replacing the whole unit over purchasing a few parts and paying for repairs.
Newer appliances benefit from newer technology that tends to be more efficient, meaning less cash spent on energy in either gas or electricity each year.
Furnace Under 12
A furnace that you purchased with the home, or as a previous replacement, that is under 12 years old, is ideal for service and repairs. these units haven’t experienced massive shifts in technology.
Assuming you have kept up on a maintenance schedule, nothing major should be required to keep the unit in good condition.
Ideally, the best thing you can do to help a young furnace is to invest in energy-proofing other areas of the home.
Your insulation, doors, and heat distribution systems are the best use of your time and money to save on costs and keep the house comfortable.
Furnace Over 16
Furnaces have an average life expectancy of between 16 and 20 years.
So any furnace that is of legal driving age is on its last legs.
No matter how well you maintain a furnace, eventually, it breaks down in enough places that to repair it is basically to replace it in all but superstructure.
As a furnace gets older, it also is prone to more failures.
These start off as inconvenience but can quickly mount in cost.
A cascading set of breakdowns is a huge frustration and one that often costs far more than a replacement.
Life cycle fo n appliance is not a hard and fast rule.
If you’ve experienced no problems with your aging furnace, it’s best to hold on until warning signs appear.
usage is also a factor. In warmer areas, with short winters and light freezing seasons, you can get away with counting years as half-years for a furnace if you properly shut it down and hibernate it after each season.
Even a young furnace can exhibit warning signs that it is breaking down.
Within the first two years, you want to contact the manufacturer and look for warranty replacement or repair options.
A furnace that is used properly shouldn’t have reason to fail unless a defect is at play.
Beyond that, pay attention to the following signs.
All other things being the same, if your energy bills are climbing, your furnace may be to blame.
Check your bill for price hikes and then investigate your seasonal usage.
Anything outside of a 10 percent change from one year to another is your starting point for worry.
A furnace shouldn’t need to be repaired more than occasionally.
Each year you want to have it inspected and checked for damage that may have occurred between seasons.
Outside of this routine maintenance, you shouldn’t need repairs more than every three to five years.
If you have had multiple issues within the past two years, you are better off intervening with a replacement.
If the thermostats are set the same in every room but the temperature in those rooms feels drastically different, the blower is likely in trouble.
The furnace can only heat a home as far as it can push the air.
While some homes were built in the days before thermals were well-understood, modern homes should have no problem distributing air to all areas equally.
This applies to propane and natural gas furnaces.
Without proper ventilation (done through the air intake and exhaust) carbon monoxide builds up in the furnace.
When this happens, the flame of your pilot light shifts from a brilliant blue to a flickering and dull yellow.
In the event of yellow flames, make certain to vent the area and then contact a professional.
They will look for blockages, water and rust in pipers and vents, and breaks or gaps inside the unit itself.
An excess of dust in the house shows that you are not getting moisturized air in the rooms.
Even a well-insulated house that isn’t losing air to the outside should still feel crips and not musty or dusty.
A dusty feeling indicates that the air is not circulating well and that your intake isn’t bringing in fresh air to heat.
Recycled air leads to dryness in your skin and throat but also escalates discomfort in those with allergies.
Repairs tend to be the solution to dusty air.
Clanks and Klonks
Even a well-functioning furnace can make some odd noises every now and then.
If you find yourself hard-up for sleep because of a constant set of sounds, the furnace needs attention.
Popping and squealing are the most common when the blower is struggling. Instead of turning on and off as it pushes air, achieves an equilibrium, and then stops, it fights to constantly push air that isn’t needed.
Having the blower inspected can determine if there is a structural issue with the motor or a blockage in the vents.
Both are better addressed earlier to save wear and tear.
Get On Point
It pays to stay on top of your heating system upkeep.
You may not have to ask yourself if you need to replace a blower motor or buy a new furnace very often, but its good to have that answer when you do.
For questions regarding your home and heating/air issues, contact us.