Are you ready to replace your home’s furnace? If you can’t answer this question with complete confidence, take a look at what you need to consider before you invest in a new heating system.

How Old Is Your Furnace?

While age doesn’t always predict the end of a furnace’s lifespan, it is a helpful tool when it comes to the decision-making process. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), the average furnace lasts for 15 to 25 years.

If you’re not sure whether age should play a part in this decision or if your furnace is on the cusp of old age, talk to a professional. A qualified HVAC technician can inspect your furnace, look for problems, explain its current efficiency (or inefficiency), and help you to decide whether an immediate replacement is a wise investment right now.

How Long Will You Use the Furnace?

Do you have plans to move next year? There’s no doubt that new furnaces can save homeowners money in the cost of utility bills and repairs. But these savings happen over time.

Even though a new heater may have a significantly higher efficiency rating than your decades-old furnace, will you see a return in your investment? If you’re already planning a move or think you might sell your home in the near-future, you may not recoup your costs.

Do You Need to Use a Specific Type of Fuel?

Your older furnace is on the fritz and costs you more than it should in utility bills — and you don’t plan on moving any time soon. Before you go ahead and pick a replacement, consider what type of furnace you currently have what fuel source it uses.

The primary fuel sources used in residential heating systems are natural gas. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nearly half (49 percent) of home heaters use this source. Electric heaters come in at number two, with 34 percent of homes using this energy source. Six percent of homes use oil and five percent use propane as their primary source of heating fuel.

In many homes, it’s easier to replace the furnace with one that matches the existing fuel hookup lines. A fuel source match means less installation time — and often lower installation costs. Unless you have plans to replace the system with a completely different option, such as solar panels or a heat pump, make fuel source a major part of your decision.

Do You Need Additional Upgrades?

The furnace itself isn’t the only part of your home’s heating system. Even though you won’t have heat without a furnace, a replacement means you may also need to add, upgrade, or repair other HVAC accessories.

If you truly need (and want) a furnace replacement, discuss the rest of your home’s heating system with the HVAC contractor. You may also need to upgrade your air ducts, thermostat, or humidifier (if this is part of your overall HVAC system).

Even though a new furnace can offer lower energy usage (and lower utility bills) and a decreased risk for breakdown or wear and tear-related malfunction, it won’t work properly if you have a decades-old thermostat or leaky air ducts. A faulty thermostat can cause your furnace to run when it shouldn’t and leaky ducts can dramatically reduce the system’s efficiency.

Keep in mind that thermostat, duct, and other upgrades will add on to the overall price tag of the replacement. You’ll need to budget for these additions along with the cost of the furnace and the installation.

Can You Lower Your Costs Other Ways?

If utility costs are the driving force behind your decision, think about other ways to increase the furnace’s efficiency. Again, thermostats and ducts play major roles in heating your home. You may only need to replace a worn thermostat or repair leaky ducts. If these ideas don’t save you money, consider insulation or an energy audit. You may find that you can lower your heating costs without a full furnace replacement.

Do you need professional help deciding whether your home is ready for a furnace replacement? Contact Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning for more information.