Furnace Replacement: When is it time?

Furnaces play a critical role in living comfortably in our home an average of 4-5 months of the year. Just like our cars, or anything mechanical, older furnaces can become expensive to maintain and run due to frequent breakdowns and obsolete engineering. Depending on the age of the furnace, some replacement parts may be out of production or result in long lead times to get the furnace back up and running. Replacing your furnace will offer efficiency by reducing your heating bills and making you comfortable during cold winter nights. Before replacing your furnace, you need to know the following:

Do you fix or replace it?

If your furnace is past the three-quarters of its life expectancy and will cost more than a third of what you will spend on buying a new one, you are better off buying a new one. To establish if your furnace is past the three-quarters of its expected life expectancy, check for its manufacture date on the product label. According to the National Association of Homebuilders and Bank of America, on average, furnaces last between 15 to 20 years. High-quality brands that are properly maintained could last for another five to six years.

Understand the efficiency math

The modern furnace has an efficiency rate of about 80%. However, you can purchase more efficient furnaces, up to 98.5%, by checking the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating listed on the product’s information label. According to Action Air Conditioning Heating and Solar’s Brian Amodio, such sets can help you save up to $2,000 of your energy costs. Get a price quote and make the wisest decision. For instance, if your annual heating cost is $2,000, you can save up to $300 per year by investing in a furnace that is 15% more fuel-efficient. Supposing it will cost $1,500 more to buy the furnace, this additional cost will be spread across the years you will use the product, giving you value for money on the expense.

Check the ducts

Your house’s ducts (tubes carrying the heated air) can also contribute to energy inefficiencies. According to Max Sherman, leading physicist, Energy Performance in Buildings Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, it is possible for up to a third of heated air to escape into the unheated attic, basement, or crawlspace. This problem can be addressed by your heating contractor sealing off the gaps. You can also contract an Aerosol contractor to spray a high-tech substance into the ducts to help seal the openings. This method can help repair small openings that are in hard-to-reach areas. It will cost $500 to $1,500 to have an aerosol contractor repair the ducts, and this can help reduce your cooling and heating expenses by 20%, which is way affordable than investing in a new furnace.

Lower your heating needs

Adding insulation to your home can also help increase energy efficiency. You start by hiring an authorized company to conduct an energy audit, which is usually free or at a subsidized price. The auditor may recommend simple actions including blowing insulation into the walls, foam spraying the top of the foundation walls, or adding attic-floor insulation. A row of siding will be removed from each story of your house, holes will be drilled in the sheathing spaced 16 inches from each other and cellulose fiber will then be blown inside. Then drilled-out plugs will then be glued back in place before the siding is reinstalled. These repair works can lower your need for heating by 5% to 25%, depending on whether your house had existing insulation. This will translate to smaller monthly bills and maybe a need for a smaller new furnace.

It’s more affordable than ever

Now Mass Save offers rebates and incentives for a more energy-efficient household, and if you want to become an energy-efficient household they can help you finance the costs of new systems. They offer a 0% loan of up to $25,000 for qualified energy-efficient home improvements, or a 0% loan of up to $50,000 for expanded projects, or removing barriers to weatherization and heating system upgrades. It’s hard to justify keeping your old less-efficient, worn-down systems when this offer is on the plate.

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