When temperatures drop, your furnace becomes your home’s most important appliance. Throughout the coldest months of the year, you’ll need a well-functioning heating system to keep your household comfortable until warmer weather arrives.
Accordingly, if your gas furnace stops working in winter, you can’t ignore the issue. Thankfully, furnaces typically last for years with proper maintenance and occasional repairs.
But if your furnace has stopped working entirely, you may need to replace it with a new one. And while heat is essential, the thought of a big bill can send chills down your spine.
Don’t panic. In this article, we’ll break down the typical costs associated with replacing a gas furnace, allowing you to assess your potential costs. We’ll also cover some signs that you might need a new furnace and a few maintenance tips for future reference.
Replacing and Installing a Gas Furnace: Average Cost Estimates
The cost of replacing a gas furnace can vary dramatically depending on the type of furnace you choose and the complexity of the installation process. You can expect to pay between $2,000 and $6,000 to replace your gas furnace with a new one.
What factors play into the final cost? In determining the cost of replacing your furnace, three main components count.
Furnace: Gas furnace prices can differ depending on their efficiency and features. More efficient furnaces have a higher initial price tag but may save you money on gas in the long run. A two-stage furnace is more expensive but can be more efficient and consistent in maintaining warm temperatures than a single-stage model.
Parts: To install your new furnace within your home’s existing heating system, your HVAC professional will use compatible parts and materials. Typically, the price of these items is included in your installation costs.
Labor: Expect at least one trained professional (and sometimes two) to work on your installation for several hours. These labor costs can add up quickly, amounting to $1,000 or more for complex or labor-intensive installations.
Signs that Your Gas Furnace May Need to Be Replaced
As our cost estimates make clear, replacing a gas furnace is a significant investment. And because a new furnace is a pricey purchase, you’ll want to look out for warning signs that yours is not functioning correctly.
Catching these potential concerns will help you call in professional help. From there, an HVAC professional can fix an issue before it becomes more severe or warn you that your furnace will need replacement.
If you see any of the following red flags with your furnace, there may be a significant issue that needs to be addressed.
Little or No Heat
An obvious signal of furnace issues is the absence of heat in your home. If you notice specific areas of your home are not warming up as they once did, or the whole house feels chillier than it should, your furnace could be struggling to produce the heat you need.
The problem could stem from other components of your heating system, such as particular ducts. Still, it’s worth bringing in professional help to assess the source of the issue.
Furnaces are rarely silent. But if your furnace begins to emit atypical sounds, particularly from the blower or motor, you may have a mechanical issue on your hands. For example, a whining or metallic clanging could mean trouble in the appliance.
If you pick up an unusual odor in your furnace’s vicinity, bring in professional help as soon as possible. The smell of gas or something burning is a red flag that something is seriously amiss.
Starting and Stopping
You might notice your furnace cycling on and off quite often, in contrast to more sustained periods of heating and allowing your home to cool. This pattern usually indicates that your furnace is shutting down before completing a full heating cycle, then quickly attempting to heat your home once again.
Several issues could cause this premature shutdown, and many of them will not warrant a full furnace replacement. An HVAC expert can help you diagnose the problem and determine the next steps accordingly.
Leaks and Puddles
If your furnace produces enough liquid to pool at the base of the appliance, don’t just mop it up and hope for the best. It’s important to determine the source of the leak as soon as possible. Water coming from in your furnace signals a substantial issue and could damage your unit if left unaddressed.
A Spike in Your Energy Bill
When a furnace is failing, its efficiency naturally plummets. Therefore, if your energy bill suddenly surges without a clear explanation (such as a sharp drop in temperature), you may wonder if your furnace is malfunctioning.
Similarly, an increased bill may call attention to ongoing issues you may have overlooked. Have you had to blast your heat more than you usually might, or felt chilly in certain parts of the house? If so, it may be time to call in expert assistance.
How Long Do Gas Furnaces Last?
While no homeowner likes replacing a new furnace, there may be some consolation: You won’t have to do it often.
Expert estimates vary, but a common rule of thumb is that gas furnaces last roughly 15 to 20 years. Additionally, with excellent maintenance and the right conditions, some furnaces can last as long as 30 years before they need to be retired.
The longevity of any appliance depends on the way it’s used. Harsh climates will naturally tax a furnace more rapidly, whereas homeowners in places with just a couple of cold months may see their furnaces last longer.
However, no matter where you live, proper maintenance will help prolong its life span. Below, we’ll share some practical tips for taking care of your gas furnace and fixing it.
Maintaining and Repairing Your Gas Furnace
Consistent Cleaning and Filter Replacement
You don’t need professional expertise to show your furnace the TLC it regularly requires. First and foremost, you should clean or replace your furnace’s filter every month (or more often, if your manufacturer suggests it). While it’s easy to overlook this chore, clean filters can reduce your monthly bill and extend your furnace’s life considerably.
Additionally, you’ll need to clean your blower and motor fairly often, eliminating dirt and dust that could reduce efficiency or cause mechanical problems. Adhere to your manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning these components, and be sure to turn your furnace off before you begin.
Before cold weather sets in, you may want to hire a professional to conduct a cleaning and maintenance check of your furnace. This check can identify and prevent any problems that could happen during the coming winter, so you’re less likely to lose heat when needed.
A professional can clean components of your furnace that your efforts won’t reach, such as the combustion chamber and oil filter. These annual checks may alert you that your furnace is reaching the end of its life span, allowing you to start planning for replacement costs.
Thankfully, most furnace issues don’t demand a complete replacement. A qualified HVAC professional can assess and fix a range of problems relatively quickly. Plus, if you catch and address furnace problems as they arise, you may be able to avoid more costly issues later.
Of course, you’ll need to hire the right professional to do essential maintenance and repairs properly. You can trust the HVAC experts on the Sears Home Services team to bring the skills and knowledge to keep your furnace functioning as long as possible.
Stay Warm Without Spending Big
While no homeowner looks forward to replacing their gas furnace, we hope this article has provided the information you need to estimate its costs. And when the time comes to replace your furnace, remember that Sears Home Services can help you save.
We give you great ways to save on HVAC replacement and experienced HVAC professionals at the ready. We’re here to help you keep your home comfortable. For heating help that you can trust, check out our selection and services today.