At some point, you will need to decide if you should spend money to repair your oil furnace or replace it with a more efficient and modern heating oil furnace. While there are many variables in making this decision, there are some key issues you need to consider. This should help you decide which direction to go. Here are five guidelines.to consider.
- The age of your heating system – If your heating system is more than 15 years old, you should consider replacing it. The average life span of a furnace is about 20 years old.
- Repair vs. replacement costs – A new forced air furnace is a significant investment for your home. But repair costs can be high, too – and with a repair, you have to consider the possibility of the problem happening again in the future. Here’s a rule of thumb: if your heating system repair exceeds 50 % of replacement costs – especially on an older unit – you should probably replace it.
- System efficiency – Old heating systems burn more fuel because of their inefficiencies, which means you’ll get higher heating expenses. An old heating unit could have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of less than 70%. A replacement model can be 85% efficient or higher.
- Wisconsin heating oil rebates – Current rebates for energy efficient heating systems could save you hundreds of dollars on new heating equipment – perhaps enough to tip the scales in favor of replacement. Read more about Wisconsin heating oil rebates.
- Safety – If your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger, it will release dangerous carbon monoxide into your home. If your heat exchanger is cracked, you should have the furnace replaced immediately. A cracked heat exchanger spells the end for your furnace because it cannot be repaired.
Adding It Up
When you weigh the costs and benefits of repairing or replacing older equipment with more efficient heating oil equipment, it’s clear that there are significant advantages to replacing an older system. But when is a repair clearly a viable option? Here are a few reasons.
- Your system is less than five years old.
- You’re planning to move soon and expect that the next homeowner will make structural changes to the house that will change the load of the existing system (remodeling, additions, etc.)
- New equipment, technology or incentive options will soon become available.
Your home heating oil system should be considered a long-term investment whose components work together to ensure your comfort. Like any investment, you need to do your research and then consult with an expert to find the best way to spend your money.
If you’re ready to explore new heating options for your home – or need help deciding whether to repair or replace – reach out to your local heating oil service contractor.