What to Know Before Replacing a Furnace or Heat Pump

On those rare days in H-town when the temperatures dip below 50, we turn to our gas furnaces and electric heaters to keep warm. Furnaces, heat pumps or electric heaters are usually one important component of a Central Air and Heating System found in most residential homes in our region. But when your furnace or heater needs a repair, many HVAC contractors will urge replacement. Here’s a checklist to review before you consider replacing your furnace or heater.

How old is your system?

If your system is a 10 or fewer years old, it should be in good working order and a repair is more than likely not going to require replacing the furnace. If it is sufficiently young, parts may be under warranty, but keep in mind that warranties do not cover warranty processing and labor. (Read our post about warranty service.) A heat exchanger in our Gulf Coast mild climate can last 25-35 years at a maximum and sometimes longer.

In what condition is your furnace or heater?

If your furnace/heater/heat pump and central air conditioning system has been serviced and maintained regularly, it extends the life of the equipment, both the furnace and the air conditioner. There are things you can do yourself such as replacing filters, keeping condensate drain lines clear, and spraying off condenser units in the spring/fall which over time lessen the load on the electrical components like motors, air handlers, and more.  We also consider how many visits we have had to make to repair your equipment to determine if the system is breaking down more often or if a repair is normal wear-and-tear.

What is the availability of parts for your system?

We weigh the availability and overall cost of replacement parts for your furnace before thinking about recommending to purchase a new furnace or heater. While we work on all brands and models, specific parts for older equipment can be more difficult to obtain quickly and may be very expensive. Most people with a non-working furnace want it repaired on the same day! Most of the time that is possible, but we have also had the experience of having to track down obscure parts for older equipment. Because those parts are less in demand, they are more expensive, almost as if they are paying rent to sit on a shelf waiting for a 25 year old furnace to fail.

What are the homeowner’s preferences?

An HVAC technician should also factor in a homeowner’s preferences, budget and goal for their home comfort system overall. We can often repair a furnace or heater for some time to extend its life even if the furnace is toward the end of its lifecycle. If budget is a concern, there are several levels of furnace from which to choose — the value-level to the ultra-energy efficient models.

It is possible to replace only the furnace part of your HVAC system, though if your air conditioner is the same age, sometimes it can be more cost-effective to replace it all at once in the off-season when pricing is typically lower and specials abound. In the Houston and surrounding area, any season that isn’t summer is the off season.

If you’re getting your home ready to sell later in the spring/summer, you may consider replacing the heater/air conditioning system which can lead to a faster sale. In that situation, we often don’t recommend choosing the higher-end central air and heating systems since typically there won’t be time to benefit from the return on investment (ROI).

We Can Keep You Toasty

If solid advice about a repair or replacement for your heating system is what you need, call Rob and Kenny at Terry’s A/C and Heating at 281-495-7830 to discuss the options available. Find out what customers have to say about the excellent service that Terry’s A/C and Heating provides, what makes our family-run company different, and the heating options we offer in the West Houston, Katy, Fulshear, Sugar Land, and Rosenberg areas. Terry’s A/C & Heating is a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer servicing all makes/models of HVAC equipment.