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Buyer’s Guide for Furnaces: Repair or Replace Your Furnace?

What are the different types of furnaces

Your home heating system is a major appliance. If you’ve been experiencing some malfunctions or you can barely remember when your furnace was bought, the question may be preying on your mind – should you repair it or replace it? We have written about buying a new furnace. As your heating repair El Cajon (and San Diego) experts, Action AC is here to offer some guidelines in this post. We do, however, strongly encourage you to make an appointment with our seasoned technicians who will come out and assess the condition of your heating system and give you personalized advice. Call us today!


Life expectancy is something to consider. Electric and gas furnaces live between 15 and 20 years. If your furnace is younger than 10 years and there’s a malfunction that doesn’t prevent you from getting some heat, repair is most likely viable and sensible.

One rule of thumb is to consider the cost of repairs in relation to the cost of the new system. If the repairs will cost no more than 30% of a new furnace, it makes sense to get the system repaired. However, this rule can be crossed with the age of the existing system, to get a better perspective on the matter. The older your system is, the less you should pay for the repairs so that it makes financial sense. To illustrate, it could be reasonable to spend $1,300 on the repair of a 5-year-old furnace, but financing such a repair could be money down the drain for a 10-year-old system. If we start with the premise that $1,300 is a reasonable repair for a 5-year-old furnace, every year added to that lowers the reasonable repair cost by $100. That’s just to give you a rough idea of what makes sense, but it’s best to have experienced technicians ascertain the condition of the unit.

It could turn out that your furnace’s performance could be significantly enhanced by other means. Maybe your ducts need sealing, or your home is poorly insulated, or you need a new thermostat, etc. This is something that a professional and experienced HVAC technician can best help with.


Again, age is a huge factor for replacement. If you have a furnace that was built before 1992, you should give serious thought to replacement even if the system doesn’t need repairs. The main reason for this is that systems that are older than 1992 likely have a 60% AFUE rating or less. In other words, you waste at least 40 cents of every dollar you give for fuel.

Replacing your system with an energy-efficient solution could make you eligible for tax credits and utility rebates. Find out more at

When mature age and necessary repairs combine, replacement is prudent. If the repairs exceed 50% of the price a new system, you should definitely replace the furnace. If vital parts of the furnace fail, you should most probably replace it (e.g. out-of-warranty failed compressor, cracked heat exchanger, etc.). If your system is more than 10 years old and you need frequent repairs, replacement is most probably in order.

Sometimes, it might seem that repair is the cheaper option, but you should include these considerations as well. Firstly, the cost of frequent repairs may quickly add up. If the system needs frequent repairs, it probably isn’t efficient and drains your home budget for energy that goes to waste.

It can happen that your system is experiencing malfunctions often because it wasn’t properly installed or the necessary capacity wasn’t accurately calculated. These two problems are also best addressed through a detailed system inspection.

Call Action AC for expert heating repair El Cajon (and surrounding area)

Action AC is here to serve you with over 4 decades of experience and excellence. When you are in doubt about repairing or replacing your furnace, make sure you reach out to us. HVAC systems are a major home appliance and you are best served when you have the right people to help you. Based in San Marcos, Action AC provides outstanding HVAC services for repair, replacement, installation and maintenance. We have been serving San Diego since 1975 with a stellar reputation. Call us today!

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