Furnace repair for older systems is kind of like car repair for vintage rides — it comes with unique challenges, and you need an expert who’s experienced with the classics. Today’s furnaces are energy-efficient, sometimes high-tech and are often what’s used in HVAC training and education courses. However, if well maintained, your old-school furnace could last for several years. Heating systems, whether it is a furnace or boiler, are a costly investment. You don’t want to replace them if you don’t have to, especially if your current furnace has a lot of life left in it. However, you do need a furnace contractor who knows a thing or two about older models.
The average life span of a furnace is around 18 years. If your furnace has passed the sweet 16 age, it’s likely time to start shopping for a new model. You don’t want to rush such a decision if the heat goes out for good, and you can make up any initial costs with the energy efficiency of a newer model. However, if your heating bills haven’t gone up and you’ve been sticking with at least annual inspections, you might be able to stretch out your current furnace a little longer. It can be tough to find parts for older furnaces, so make sure you have a technician on board with the experience and networking necessary to get hard-to-find parts in a pinch.
It’s common to have a few maintenance necessities or small repairs with your yearly check, but if your furnace has been breaking down more often in recent years, beware. Many furnaces begin to act up in the last two years of their life. The heat quality may also be going down, even though the temperature remains the same. If you notice an increase in allergy symptoms indoors or excess dust, those are signs your furnace may not be working properly.
A reputable HVAC technician will listen to your needs and preferences before making any recommendations. Remember: A technician and/or repair company doesn’t get a cut for encouraging you to upgrade your furnace. In fact, it’s likely more profitable for them to keep repairing a furnace on its last leg. Furnaces, like cars, are going to break down more, work less efficiently and generally give you more trouble the older they get. Repairing them will get tougher as you need to seek out technicians who are skilled with older models. This usually means these technicians have been around the block a few times and may have trained on models similar to what you have.
Fortunately, the apprenticeship aspect of HVAC training means that knowledge and skills for fixing older models is indeed getting passed down. When shopping for an HVAC technician, ask about your specific make, model and year. Call Complete Heating & Air Conditioning for a quote and to ensure your furnace is still up to the job.