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When Is a Furnace Repair Too Expensive?

When Is a Furnace Repair Too Expensive?

The average furnace repair costs between $150 and $300; a major repair can cost over $1,200 (in 2024 dollars, according to Forbes).1 Whether this is too expensive depends on your budget and the unit’s age and condition. There are also ways to calculate if a repair costs too much. While our tips for avoiding expensive furnace repairs can help you save, here’s a detailed look at deciding if a repair job is worth the investment or too costly.

Is Fixing My OId Furnace Too Expensive?

Your furnace probably doesn’t have personal value like a car, so replacing it may not seem like a big deal. On the other hand, it may seem simpler to repair it. However, furnaces can end up costing more to repair than to replace, especially if an aging unit needs frequent service.

Here are three ways to determine if a furnace repair is too expensive:

  • The $5,000 Rule: Multiply the cost of a repair by the age of your furnace. If the result exceeds $5,000, it’s more cost-effective to replace the unit. For example, spending $500 to repair a 12-year-old furnace will yield a value of $6,000 (making a replacement a better investment), but spending $300 yields a value of $3,600, so a repair may be worthwhile.
  • The 50% Rule: If your furnace is around 15 years old, compare the cost of repairs with that of installing a new system. A repair is too expensive if it costs more than 50% of the price to replace the unit. However, the cost of a new furnace depends on the type of model, its efficiency rating, and other factors. That’s why it’s important to get accurate price quotes so you can compare your options.
  • Ask a Professional: A furnace repair vs. replacement decision doesn’t have to be made alone. A licensed heating technician can provide a thorough evaluation and determine whether your furnace should be repaired or replaced. You can decide based on their opinion and weigh your options to find the most cost-effective long-term solution. It also helps consider your family’s comfort and safety.

What Determines the Cost of Furnace Repair vs. Replacement?

The expenses of furnace repair are relative to a few factors. Therefore, a furnace replacement decision often requires careful thought. Unless you’re dealing with a full breakdown, your old furnace may work fine for a while, even if you invest in a repair. A well-informed decision requires considering the following:

  • Furnace Age: The $5,000 rule requires a calculation that factors in the unit’s age. However, it’s more than about the cost of a single repair. If a furnace is 15 to 20 years old, it may have to be repaired more frequently; replacing it can avoid repeatedly paying for parts and labor. Plus, it’s likely no longer under warranty.
  • Severity of the Damage: Minor damage may be worth repairing. For example, replacing a flame sensor or burner isn’t costly compared to replacing a heat exchanger, which often lasts the life of the unit. Major repairs to old furnaces are often just a short-term fix, so furnace replacement tends to be the more cost-effective option.
  • Energy Efficiency: A heating contractor can help calculate your heating costs and estimate how much you can save. Upgrading from a low-efficiency model to a modern, high-efficiency unit costs more upfront, but can yield significant long-term energy savings. Plus, you may qualify for rebates, tax credits, and other incentives. 

Can I Save Money on Furnace Repair?

There may be more opportunities to save than you think. For example, a well-maintained furnace tends to last longer and require fewer repairs. Replacing filters as recommended, having furnace components cleaned, and scheduling annual tune-ups can avoid expensive service visits. Requesting service whenever you suspect there’s a minor issue also helps.

Another way to save is to know your warranty coverage. If the system is still under warranty, read the documentation to see what repairs are covered and if you can avoid paying out-of-pocket. Also, check with multiple reputable contractors, get quotes from them, and make an educated decision based on a comparison of the price and services included.

Call Waldrop to Schedule Furnace Repair

If you live in Greenville or Spartanburg Counties, you can depend on Waldrop for high-quality furnace repair. We repair gas, oil, and electric furnaces regardless of the size and scope of the problem. Poor heating performance, frequent cycling, strange noises, foul odors, and declining indoor air quality are signs your furnace should be repaired or replaced. To receive a full heating system evaluation and a cost estimate, call (864) 536-0887 today.

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