As cold weather sets in, you may be wondering if it is time to replace your furnace. While they are a significant financial investment, you may be spending more money keeping your old furnace than you would if you replaced it. Here are a few factors to consider:

Age

The average life expectancy of your home’s furnace is 16 – 20 years, depending on if you had it professionally maintained or not. If your furnace is near this age or older, it’s smarter to replace than to repair considering efficiency and technology changes.

Repairs

If your furnace is having frequent breakdowns, it is probably nearing the end of its life and should be replaced. You will pay more upfront for a new furnace but those frequent, costly repairs will likely add up to the same or more than a new furnace. A replacement is also the smarter choice (no matter the age of the furnace) if the cost to repair is 50% of the cost of a new furnace.

AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency)

The energy.gov website defines AFUE as “the ratio of annual heat output of the furnace or boiler compared to the total annual fossil fuel energy consumed by a furnace or boiler.” AFUE is basically an energy efficiency rating system for your heating system, represented in a percentage, with a higher percentage equaling higher efficiency. For example, a 90% AFUE means 90% of the energy in the fuel becomes heat, while the other 10% escapes. The federal government requires a minimum AFUE of 80% for most furnaces, but a furnace must have a AFUE of 95% or higher in the northern United States and 90% or higher in the southern United States to meet Energy Star standards.

Rising Heating Bills

Since nearly 30% of your annual home energy bill is for heating, you want to be sure your furnace is efficient. As your furnace ages, it will lose efficiency, especially if it hasn’t been properly maintained. It may also run longer to provide the same amount of heat, resulting in a higher energy bill. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, most 20 year old furnaces have a 78% AFUE or lower, meaning that for every dollar you use to heat your home, 23 cents (or more) is wasted. It’s easy to see how you will save in the long run with a new furnace when you start adding up these losses.

Uneven Temperatures

If you can notice significant differences in temperature between the rooms in your home or you’re constantly adjusting the thermostat in hopes of making your home more comfortable, it may be time for a new furnace.

Yellow Burner Flame

The flame on a properly functioning gas furnace is blue with a small yellow tip at the flame’s inner cone. If your furnace’s flame is almost entirely yellow, your furnace may be producing carbon monoxide, a very serious and potentially dangerous problem.

There are many benefits to replacing your furnace. Not only will you have peace of mind, you’ll also stop losing time scheduling appointments and waiting for your service technician. You will be able to stop spending money on repairs and enjoy lower energy bills. To make the best choice for your home, call Atlanta Air Care today. We can provide you with a cost analysis (repair costs, rising equipment costs, costs associated with lower efficient furnaces, etc.) so you can compare your new furnace investment costs with the cost of keeping your old furnace.