Why is my furnace blowing cold air?  Pippin Brothers, Lawton, OK
January 12, 2013

To replace or not to replace, that is the question when it comes to a furnace that has just broken down.

Replacing your furnace too early could be a costly mistake if your it still has some life left in it. So how do you know when it's the right time to replace?

To help you figure out if you need to replace your furnace, ask yourself these three key questions:

How old is my furnace?
The lifetime of a gas furnace, according to consumerreports.org, is about 18 years.

However, energystar.gov suggests that you replace furnaces that are over 15 years old with an ENERGY STAR rated furnace. These furnaces are at least 15% more energy efficient than other furnaces on the market today and even more efficient than your current furnace.

So, if you furnace is over 15 years old, you'll probably get more value from replacing it than repairing it.

How energy efficient is my furnace?
Speaking of energy efficiency, do you know how energy efficient your current furnace is? Living with an inefficient furnace can cost you a lot of money over time.

To figure out how energy efficient your furnace is, look for it's Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. You may be able to find the AFUE on the side of the furnace. Otherwise, you can find the model number and look up the efficiency rating on the manufacturer's website.

This percentage rating measures how much fuel it's using to actually heat for your home.

For example, if you have an older furnace, it's AFUE is probably 70% or lower. That means for every dollar of fuel your furnace uses, only $.70 of that dollar actually heats your home. The other $.30 is lost in the combustion process. So your furnace runs longer in order to get your home to the desired temperature

Use this savings calculator to determine the money you'd save over time from upgrading to a higher efficiency furnace.

If the savings aren't significant, then hold off on purchasing a new furnace just yet.

How much does this current repair cost and how often has my furnace broken down?
When you furnace breaks down, remember the 50% rule when determining if you should replace it.

The 50% rule, in this situation, means that you should get a new furnace if your current furnace repair costs 50% or more of the price to replace your furnace.

You should also keep in mind how often your furnace has broken down and how much those repairs cost.

If your furnace has broken down frequently over the past two years, then your furnace is nearing the end of it's life. And therefore it may be more cost efficient to get a new furnace.

Want some individual, one-on-one help? Contact Pippin Brothers and we can take a detailed look at your furnace and let you know whether you should get a furnace repair or a new furnace for your Lawton-area home.