Furnace Repairs FAQ

Unfortunately, as homeowners there aren’t a whole lot of options when it comes to the question of whether or not to get our furnaces fixed. Furnace repairs are a necessity because the cold Canadian winter leaves us with the pretty easy predicament – fix or die. Most of us can count on 0 fingers the number of people that are super thrilled with having mounting furnace replacement costs staring them down right during the holidays or when most industries are in the slow season. Luckily when you hear banging or clattering coming from the utility room, it’s not always a sign that a complete furnace overhaul is needed, sometimes minimal costing repairs can actually get you another 2-4 years or more from your unit. In order to understand when and if you need to repair or replace the furnace, it’s first important to assess these 5 main ponderings.

How Old is the Unit?

One thing that stinks in life is that no matter how much TLC you give it, eventually a time will come when it breaks down. That could be a car or a relationship but most definitely a furnace. Most experts would say you’re lucky to squeeze 15-20 years from your furnace (and really lucky if a relationship lasts that long.) For that reason, as your trusty heater starts getting up there in age, furnace repairs might start shifting to the question of ‘when should we kick this rust-bucket to the curb (again, not your significant other, hopefully). Just like an old car that’s been with you for years, you can keep pumping money in to keep her on the road but eventually the dignifying, and financially responsible thing to do is get a replacement. Conversely if your furnace system is just a few years old then you really need to check the warranty or invest a portion of money to get the expected life out of the system.

Are Repair Bills Mounting Up?

Another factor to consider on deciding between a replacement unit or to keep paying for furnace repairs is just how financially draining the repeated service calls have been. There might be something wrong with the duct system in your home or the layout where for some reason the current style of furnace just won’t work no matter what. Depending on how many times the repair service has visited in an attempt to get you adequate heat in the home there may just come a time to cut your losses and say it’s time for a new furnace. In many cases the new energy-saving lines of furnaces can actually cut down on your utility bills and, although a big overhead, will save you cash in the long run…and actually heat the house.

Is the Unit Heating at All?

A few loud noises can be remedied with good pair of headphones but the furnace not heating your house at all is something that can’t be ignored. While some furnace repairs can be put off inefficient heat displacement is not one of them, especially at the risk of not only your family but the pipes in your wall, your big screen TV, and other items that could be damaged in the cold. Many times furnace repairs can get you back on the road to home heat but if the furnace continually breaks down and leaves you literally out in the cold it may be time for an upgrade.

What’s the Physical Condition of the Furnace?

While internal components of the air conditioner can often be replaced, when the outside starts to break down it could be safe to say that the end is nigh. You can only patch up so much a furnace that has started oxidizing and breaking down from exposure to water or a cold, damp, utility room. On top of that hose fittings that have become damaged and blower motor rotors that are shot are signs that a replacement is near. Just like that car you’ve had since the 80’s still has an engine with plenty of spunk, a rusted out, mismatched auto body could be grounds for a replacement because you don’t know when it will disintegrate while driving.

What Does the Professional Say?

When in doubt about whether more furnace repairs are needed or if its time for a complete overhaul, simply contact a trusted industry professional. Most HVAC companies with good intentions will give you an honest assessment about whether you’re riding on bided time or if you can legitimately get another 4 to 5 years from your unit. Another good idea for general purposes is to get an energy audit on your home. An outside contractor with no horse in the race can give you his or her assessment about whether your furnace is efficient enough or its a lack of insulation or other household inadequacies causing you all the heating headaches.

Hopefully the news is good for you when it comes to furnace repairs, but despite regular maintenance sometimes the unit just decides to shut it down for life. Luckily the repairs and either the replacements in the modern age are designed to befit the homeowner, with energy-efficient units lowering utility bills enough to offset the service costs. Instead of cursing into the cold moonlit night the next time your furnace breaks down, think positive and understand it may actually be a blessing.