When is the best time to replace a furnace?

Asked by Trulia Denver, Denver County, CO Wed Jan 16, 2013

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Ron Rovtar, Agent, Boulder, CO
Thu Jun 27, 2013
I answered this question below. But, assuming one is replacing a furnace simply to obtain the advantages of today's high-efficiency systems, there is a less obvious factor to consider.

I'm told by experts that the high-efficiency units often have a shorter average lifespan of about 12 years because the heat exchangers are made of thinner metal (and the heat exchangers cannot be replaced). So homeowners may want to plan ahead.

If, for example, you make the upgrade when your youngest child is entering first grade, you may have to install another furnace at about the time that child leaves for college.

What a coincidence! This also may be when you start thinking of downsizing to a smaller home. As a result, you may be buying one furnace for yourself and a second one for the people you will sell to.

So, form a financial perspective, it might be good to wait until that youngest child is a little further along in elementary school.

Kind regards,
Ron Rovtar
Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies
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Thomas Moser, Agent, East Northport, NY
Wed Jun 26, 2013
If it is an oil fired burner, it may also be a good time to consider switching to natural gas if it is available in your area.
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Ritchy Haynes, , Denver, CO
Wed Jun 26, 2013
If furnace is years old and needs replacing a good time is before you sell. If you are keeping the home and residing there yourself I would consider waiting for it to go out!
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Fred Herman, Agent, Staten Island, NY
Tue Jun 25, 2013
when it's not needed, summer time.
when it breaks-down often.
when it's old.
when a new one will pay for itself in energy savings in 7 years or less.

get an estimate for a new furnace.

if you have safety concerns, do not use it.

safety is no accident.

good luck
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Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Tue Jun 25, 2013
Right before it goes out.
doncha think?
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, ,
Thu May 2, 2013
I would assume when it breaks or cannot be fixed. You can have a local repair man see if the problem is fixable and if it won't be an issue in the future. Old furnaces were installed with white tape which over the years can turn into asbestos. If you aren't familiar with repairing such an equipment do not attempt to repair it yourself as you can inhale asbestos. I have renovated 3 century old homes and learned this the hard way.

Best of Luck;

Christina Solorzano;
CEO & SR Credit Repair Specialist at
Everlasting Credit Repair
Ex-Mortgage Broker of more than 10 years

We also have a DIY service.
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Julie Montgo…, , 80238
Wed Jan 23, 2013
When it's not working anymore. Seriously, if you change your filters regularly and have your furnace inspected and serviced at least once every couple of years, it should last a long time.

If your home is for sale, however, it's a completely different standard. Many "CYA" home inspectors will have the buyers ask you to have furnace "cleaned, inspected, serviced and certified." This is whether it's one year old or 30 years old. It's a crock.

I always advise my sellers to have a reputable, licensed HVAC company (unless it's less than one year old) inspect the furnace before puttting the home onto the market. If there's a problem, you'll know about; if not, even better. This will save you time, money and brain damage down the road.

Julie Montgomery, RE/MAX Masters, Inc. Greenwood Village, CO http://www.jmontgomery.
Web Reference:  http://www.jmontgomery.com
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Ron Rovtar, Agent, Boulder, CO
Mon Jan 21, 2013
If you are asking about when a furnace should be replaced because it is becoming dangerous, I agree fully with Sharon: Talk to a reputable Heating (HVAC) professional. Safety should be your primary concern and you should have your furnace checked regularly! You do not want to wait until the carbon monoxide detector goes off in the middle of the night. (You do have carbon monoxide detectors within 15 feet of every bedroom! Right?)

But, if you have an older furnace, you might also want to check into the energy savings that comes with a more efficient modern furnace. In fact, you just might want to have a complete energy audit to learn what improvements will cut energy consumption most and, thus, save you the most money. If you are in the Xcel service area, you might check out the company's program or you might talk to local authorities about other programs in your area. Information about the Xcel program for Colorado is at the link below.

Ron Rovtar
Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies
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Sharon Young…, Agent, Centennial, CO
Wed Jan 16, 2013
Wow...... that's sort of like asking how fast should I be driving......depends on the road conditions and other factors.

You should be asking this to a reputable Heating Professional in addition or instead of realtors. Some suggestions to consider are:
* Have you had the furnace certified and know that there is not a cracked or defective heat exchanger?
* What is your cash / income / cash flow situation?
* Would it be prudent to purchase a home warranty for about $400 per year that will cover the furnace should it stop working?

Let me know if this gives you any thoughts for maping out your decision making process.

Sharon Young
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