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We say it time and again: the best way to take care of your heating system is to get an annual tune-up. But even the best maintained heating equipment will eventually break down.

Professional heating repair can go a long way in extending the lifespan of your heating equipment. But eventually repairs will cost more than they’re worth, since an old boiler or furnace will continue to have low fuel efficiency – along with poor performance and a greater chance for further breakdown.

How do you determine whether to repair or replace your home heating system? Here are some guidelines.

  1. Check the age of your heating system – The metal identification plate on your furnace or boiler lists the serial and model numbers of your heater; contact us to ask about the date of manufacture. If your heating system is more than 12-15 years old, you should consider replacing it.
  2. Compare repair and replace costs – A new hot air furnace or boiler 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 percent of replacement costs – especially on an older unit – you should probably replace it.
  3. Consider system efficiency – Old heating systems burn fuel to make up for their inefficiencies, which means you’ll get higher bills and increase the carbon footprint of your home. An old heating unit could have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of less than 70 percent – at least 10 percent lower than a replacement model (some gas furnace models come with AFUE as high as 95).
  4. Consider tax incentives and manufacturer rebates – Current government tax incentives and manufacturer rebates for energy efficient heating systems could save you hundreds on new equipment – perhaps enough to tip the scales in favor or replacement.
  5. Safety first, always – If your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger, it will release dangerous – or even deadly – carbon monoxide into your home. If your heat exchanger is cracked, you should have the furnace replaced immediately.

There will come a time when replacing your home heating system will make more sense than repairing it. If you need help to determine if you’ve reached that point, give us a call today.

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