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When Is the Time to Replace Your Furnace?


By Riley Blythe

There will come a time when you have to make the decision whether or not to replace your furnace when it has broken down, or if you should repair it instead. While you may not want to replace your furnace, when you are experiencing constant breakdowns and other issues, it may be time to replace your furnace.

Warning Signs

Your furnace will start to exhibit a variety of problems as it reaches the end of its life. Knowing these signs can help you to determine when you should replace your unit.


As long as you have taken care of your HVAC system, it should last anywhere from 10-20 years. However, if you have not done proper maintenance, the lifecycle of the furnace could have been compromised.

Increased Utility Bills

When your furnace starts to go out, you can lose some efficiency of the furnace. It has to work harder to compensate, and that can put an increase on your utility bills. However, it is important to make sure that you do not have a drafty home, a colder than normal winter, or other factors that could play into increased utility bills. If those factors are not present, the chances are that your furnace is aging and having to work harder. You will want to opt for a new furnace that has a higher seer rating.

Flickering or Yellow Flame

If you have a gas furnace and you have a yellow tint on your flame, the chances are that there is something wrong with your unit. When your furnace flame is on, it should be bright blue in color and should not flicker. A flickering yellow flame is a sign that you have a clogged burner valve, incomplete burning of fuel, or a bigger problem. This issue could also indicate that the HVAC system generates more carbon monoxide, which will put you and your family at risk. You may want to consider getting a new heating unit if this is the case.

Strange Sounds

Your furnace should not operate with any kind of sounds like rattles, hissing, pops, squeaks, or bangs. If you hear this noise, it is an indication that something is wrong with your unit. Often, this noise comes from the fan that sits inside your unit. When the fan goes bad, it will be a very expensive repair. If you have dealt with fan issues in the past with this unit, it might be a good idea to opt for a newer unit that can stand up better. You will actually come out saving money by replacing your unit.

Environmentally Friendly

Older HVAC units are not environmentally friendly. They will use a lot of energy, and their seer rating will be below. They will also contain a refrigerant known as Freon, which has now been banned for causing issues with the ozone. If you have an older furnace, you will want to upgrade your unit to one that uses a more environmentally friendly refrigerant and one that has a higher seer rating.

System Cycling

Your furnace will maintain temperature by cycling on and offer. If your unit is constantly cycling on and off and struggles to stay on, this is an indication that something significant is going on with your unit, and you will want to consider a replacement.

Not Heating

If your unit has quit altogether, the cost to fix it may be substantially more than what you expect. That is especially true when there are currently some shortages of parts. You may wait several weeks to get your furnace part, and by then, you may have had to opt for a backup heating system. Most HVAC companies will have new HVAC units in stock already. So all you will have to do is to schedule an installation.

Frequent Repairs

A well-maintained heating system should only need repairs every few years. If you find yourself needing repairs frequently, you will want to consider getting the unit replaced. The unit is going to keep breaking down frequently, and it does not make financial sense to keep throwing money away. By purchasing a new unit and keeping it maintained, you should reduce repairs to every few years.

You Are Selling Your Home

If you plan to sell your home in the future and your unit is older, you will want to consider upgrading your heating unit. Having an older heating and cooling system is a turn-off for many buyers because they know that they will have the expense of paying for that in the future. By replacing the HVAC unit, you will encourage buyers to purchase your home.

If you experience any of the above issues with your heating unit, you will want to opt for a replacement as soon as possible. There are many new options out there for your HVAC system. You can put back a system like you have before or opt for a different kind of system like a package unit that sits outside. Many HVAC companies offer deals on installation and may also offer financing that can help you to get your unit in quickly.

When you do get your new HVAC system, you will need to remember to get it maintained at least twice a year. Once in the spring before you turn your air conditioner on and then once in the fall before you turn your heat on. Proper maintenance of your unit will help the unit to function well and will help to curb any repair issues before they occur.


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