Your Furnace Has Earned The Red Tag -- Time To Repair Or Replace

When your utility provider or HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) technician hangs a red tag on your furnace, you'll likely have to make a difficult decision about whether to repair or replace it. Although the decision can be straightforward under some circumstances, sometimes it's a tough call. If a warranty that includes parts and labor covers your furnace, it might make sense to repair it. However, if your furnace is older, replacement may be your best option.

Here are several factors to consider when you are deciding between repairing or replacing a red-tag furnace:

  • Replacing a heat exchanger can be a complicated repair, with high parts and labor costs. Getting the part may take weeks. If the furnace is red tagged in the winter, you might have to vacate your home until it's fixed or use supplemental heat. Your utility company is required to shut off power to a red-tag furnace.
  • Fixing an older furnace may not be a wise financial decision. Old heating equipment tends to be energy inefficient, which costs you more to heat your home. Newer heating equipment makes better use of fuel, so you waste less. Furnaces typically last between 15 and 20 years.
  • Your old furnace may be too big for your home. In the past, builders installed equipment that was too big for a home, which caused the furnaces to short cycle, driving up energy costs and wearing the equipment prematurely.
  • Sometimes communities have incentive programs that give rebates, credits or incentives for installing new, energy efficient home appliances. If you repair an old furnace, chances are you won't be able to take advantage of these programs. Dealers also may offer incentive and financing programs that ease the sting of replacement costs.

If you don't know how old or efficient your furnace is, you might be able to find a factory label that tells its input capacity and the output. By dividing the difference between input and output by the input, you can calculate its annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), which is the amount of heat it produces versus how much it consumes. If it's less than 80 percent, you'll be better off with a furnace replacement to utilize fuel more efficiently, saving you money during the cold winters in mid-Ohio.

For more information, contact Joe Behr Plumbing and Heating, Inc. to get help about about replacing or repairing your red-tag furnace. We're here to help you choose wisely, and have been helping customers in the Mid-Ohio area since 1965 with all of their heating, cooling and plumbing needs.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about furnaces and other HVAC topics, visit our website.

Joe Behr Plumbing and Heating, Inc. services the Mid-Ohio area. 

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