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Bartels Heating & Cooling Blog

Understanding When Repairs Are Still Worthwhile for Your Furnace

furnace-oldPeople enjoy a fresh start at the beginning of the year. You may be thinking that a new start is what you need for your home heating. You have an old furnace that you think isn’t living up to its old standards. It sounds like a good reason to have a new furnace installed, and there are many excellent options on the market for a high-efficiency heating unit.

But… can repairs keep the furnace going? If they can, are they worth the cost? Before you make a choice about either heating replacement or heating repair in Mason, OH, we want you to read more about the cost of getting a new furnace vs. the cost of repairing an old one.

There’s no clear-cut answer to “repair or replace”

We can’t give you a definite answer about whether you should replace your furnace—not on a blog, anyway. Our technicians can give you an educated answer once they’ve had a chance to examine your furnace and determine what repairs may help. The situation with your home, your budget, and your furnace will all affect the choice. Making the wrong choice can be costly, but making the right choice isn’t difficult when you have the help of professionals.

Consider the furnace’s age

If you have a natural gas furnace, which most people in Ohio do, then the average system lifespan you can expect is 15 to 20 years. (Provided the furnace has received regular maintenance. A neglected furnace may only get to half that age range.) When your furnace is over 15, replacement starts to become the more attractive option. You can use the furnace’s age to make a basic calculation about whether a repair is too expensive or not.

Take the quoted cost of the repair that will fix the furnace and multiply it by the furnace’s age. If the product is 5,000 or higher, it usually means the repair is not worth it. For example, if you have a furnace that’s already 17 years old, a repair that’s $300 or more is too much. If the furnace is 12 years old, a $300 repair is still a good investment. In fact, a $400 repair is still good for a 12-year-old furnace (400 X 12 = 4,800). This “Rule of 5000” isn’t an absolute answer, but it will give you a good idea of what to look for in repair costs.


If your technician thinks the gas furnace will become unsafe if it continues to run at an advanced age, don’t worry about repairs—have it replaced. A cracked heat exchanger is a common reason for an older furnace to become hazardous, and replacing a heat exchanger is a costly repair. It’s usually better to have a potentially unsafe furnace replaced.

The 50% Rule

One more guideline. Find out how much a standard furnace replacement is. Compare that cost to the quote for the repair. If the repair is less than 50% of the price of a replacement, the repair may still be worth it. (But apply the “Rule of 5000” as well.) If the repair is more than 50% of the new furnace, you should go for the new furnace.

Call Bartels Heating & Cooling “For a Comfortable Way of Life.” We have 24-hour emergency service available when you need furnace repair right away.

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