How much does a new furnace cost? How long should a furnace last?

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How much does a new furnace cost?

A new gas furnace should cost roughly  $3,000-$4,000 dollars for the unit and installation by a knowledgeable contractor. Be sure to get at least two quotes, preferably three as pricing can vary a great deal.

How long should a furnace last?

Regularly maintained furnaces can live long, productive lives, 25 years or more in many cases. But once yours has inched past 15 years, or if you haven’t been strict about a maintenance schedule over its lifetime, it’s smart to know the signs of a failing furnace so that you won’t be caught unprepared.

Keep your eyes open for these indicators of furnace trouble:

  • Abnormally high bills. If your energy bills keep creeping up and you aren’t sure of the cause, a faulty furnace could be the problem. Consider having an energy audit  performed—it’s a smart way to assess how your home uses energy and what improvements can be made to lower your bills.
  • Hot and cold spots or pockets of humidity. When a furnace has trouble producing consistent results from room to room, that often means there’s a problem with air distribution that may be impractical to repair. This can be a result of missing maintenance milestones over the years.
  • Frequent cycling. Is the heat turning on and off a lot? This is a hint that your furnace is becoming less effective.
  • Frequent repairs. Problems tend to cluster near the end of a furnace’s life, and the cost of multiple fixes can add up fast. It’s best to consider replacing an older unit instead of shelling out for one more big repair bill.
  • Noise. No noise is good news when it comes to your HVAC system. Groaning, popping, or banging, on the other hand, is often a sign the end is near.
  • Physical discomfort (yours, that is). We assume that if you have a furnace, you’ve got a good carbon monoxide detector in your house to alert you if something goes wrong. If you haven’t, march right out and get one now but know that headaches, nausea, and mental fog can be a sign that your furnace’s heat exchanger has begun to crack and is discharging toxic gases into the house. No question here whatsoever: a new furnace is a must.

What should I do next?

Contact an HVAC professional if any of this sounds familiar. In fact, get in the habit of having your furnace looked at once a year anyway. Regular maintenance is the key to prolonging its life, and to discovering big problems before the season’s worst cold snap hits.

A final note: you may be wondering about proactive replacement to save on energy bills. Replacing your furnace before it’s actually failing can make sense in some circumstances, but only if you have a really inefficient furnace and a large heating load (say, if you have lots of square footage). For your new model, you’ll want to choose an efficient ENERGY STAR® unit—in New York, ENERGY STAR gas furnaces are 16 percent more efficient than the current minimum standard, saving you up to $94 per year over a standard new model (but likely much more than that compared to your old, inefficient furnace). Those savings alone can put a significant dent into a new furnace cost.

A good HVAC contractor can help you with the calculation to see if the investment will pay you back in a reasonable amount of time.