Thursday, 05 December 2013 19:52

To repair or replace… that’s the question.

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A good furnace should last for 10-15 years. But when the old girl is getting too aged to hum, maybe it’s time to start thinking about investing in a new furnace. How do you know when the time is right?


Consider how much you are investing in furnace repairs versus a new system. Furnace technology has come a long way since the mid 90’s when those old units were installed. Today’s technology is efficient, quiet and works with your house. Think of your furnace like a car. When you keep putting cash into it every few months to make it purr (but it’s still wheezing), it may be time to move on. After all, who wants a break down on the coldest day of the year? Then you’ve really got a problem.

Think safety first

If the problem presents a safety hazard, replacement is a no-brainer. For example, if your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger—the metal wall between the burning fuel and the air it’s heating—poisonous carbon monoxide gas could work its way into the household air supply, something you don’t want to risk. Other problems, like faulty electronics and stuck valves, can be repaired, which means you’ll need to do a cost-benefit analysis.

Consider your heating systems efficiency

In these days of high fuel costs and concerns over our carbon footprints, you should also consider your heating systems efficiency. Its Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency number (AFUE) measures the percentage of the fuel that’s converted to heat rather than being lost up the chimney or through other inefficiencies.

If your system is 20 years old, its AFUE is probably about 70%. Today’s minimum AFUE is 80%, which means you’ll burn 10% less fuel—and therefore spend 10% less money on your heating bills. You can go as high a 95% AFUE with new equipment, dropping your bills a whopping 25%.

It’s definitely worth doing the math to see if the high-efficiency model will pay for itself. According to Energy Star, upgrading to more efficient HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment can cut heating and cooling costs by about 20%, or $200 a year on average, which means you could recoup the extra investment in as little as five years.

Talk to a professional

Consult a professional to discuss your options. Most homeowners today have a company that services their HVAC unit seasonally (if you don’t, it’s recommended to find an HVAC partner; regular maintenance means a longer-lasting HVAC system).

You’re only going to make this investment one time every 10-15 years. Educate yourself and make a smart buying decision for long-term satisfaction and comfort. For further questions or to schedule a free in-home estimate contact MacGregor at 231-526-9633 and be sure to visit us online at

Read 5673 times Last modified on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 16:08
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