Most people do not wait until their furnaces quit working to replace them. Instead, they make the decision based on the overall efficiency of the furnace, in addition to any repair needs. Buying a new furnace is never inexpensive, but you may get better efficiency and lower heating bills by purchasing a new furnace instead of maintaining an old one.
The efficiency of your furnace is measured by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). This is the amount of fuel that is converted directly to heat. If your furnace has an AFUE rating of 85, it means that the best efficiency your furnace will get is 85 percent of the fuel used. Over time, this efficiency goes down, especially with wear to the appliance. New furnaces have higher AFUE ratings than most older appliances, as much as 97 or even 99 percent. If you buy a new furnace, you may save some money on your utility bills with higher efficiency. However, if your furnace is only a few years old or you have maintained it very well, buying new may not justify the savings quite yet.
The cost of repairs will often help you make the decision to buy a new furnace. Furnace repairs in Sacramento can range from very minor, costing a couple hundred dollars, or they may cost thousands. Most experts suggest that you consider buying a new furnace if the repair costs approach half of the expense to purchase and install a new furnace. If your furnace is particularly old or in poor condition, you may decide to buy new even if the repair costs are not exceptionally onerous. With a new furnace, you can expect a longer life expectancy from your upkeep over trying to keep a 25-year-old furnace running for another year or two.
If you are thinking of changing your fuel source (e.g. from oil to natural gas), you must buy a new furnace that will run on the new fuel source. Some people decide to convert to gas from oil because the price of oil varies quite a bit from year to year. Oil is also usually more expensive than natural gas, which maintains a consistent price lower than both oil and electricity. However, you should keep in mind that natural gas furnaces are often more expensive than furnaces running on oil. You must also have access to a natural gas pipeline before you buy new equipment.
If your furnace is older than 15 years or has not had effective upkeep over its lifespan, it may be time to replace it. With a new, efficient furnace, you can keep your home warm and shave some dollars off your heating bills during the winter. For more information about furnaces for your home, contact the Sacramento heating and air specialists at Ace Plumbing.