Updated On

November 9, 2023

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    Your furnace has been a workhorse for years, serving you and your family well. But lately, you’ve been noticing that your home isn’t staying as warm, or your home energy bill is on the rise, and it’s not just the price of fuel or electricity. 

    You’ve been asking yourself – should I replace this furnace before it becomes an antique, or worse, stops running in the middle of a cold snap? 

    To ensure you aren’t left out in the cold and to keep heating bills as low as possible, maybe it’s time for a new furnace.

    If you’re looking for a local HVAC company, you can fill out the following form:

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    Average Cost To Replace a Furnace?

    Your 30+year-old furnace just cannot compete with today’s high-efficiency furnaces. The average lifespan of a furnace is 15-20 years, so at 30, you are already beating the odds. Replacing it before it completely gives up the ghost is ideal, rather than waiting until your furnace will not turn on or for it to just die on some cold, winter night. But short of total breakdown, how do you know when to say goodbye to the old unit?

    There’s a lot to consider when replacing your furnace. You need to think about annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE ratings, energy-star ratings, seers, BTUs, and many other factors to find the most cost-effective heating system and high-efficiency models of a furnace. 

    Maybe the old system used home heating oil as the fuel, but you’d like to switch to cleaner, cheaper natural gas. A new unit should focus on greater energy efficiency. A more efficient model may cost more upfront but can save money on heating costs in the long run. 

    But what will it cost to replace that furnace? It depends on what type of energy source you are using. Here is a breakdown of the average costs of replacing a furnace.

    Prices will vary from region to region, so when the time comes be sure to get a few quotes for the most accurate numbers where you live. 

    If you are replacing an electric furnace or moving up from a heat pump to an electric furnace, you are lucky to be on the less expensive end of the furnace replacement spectrum. For just replacing the furnace itself, costs can run from $700 to $2,800. If you are installing a whole new system, it can run between $1,600 and $3,200.

    The cost to replace a gas furnace can range anywhere from $2,000 to $6,500, depending on your home size and the manufacturer of the furnace. But for savings on your gas bill, it can be well worth the expense in the long run. If you are installing a whole new system including new ductwork, etc. you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $8,000. 

    An oil furnace is one of the more expensive options. A simple replacement of the furnace unit itself will run between $1,800 – $5,000. If you are replacing ductwork and doing a completely new install (say moving from radiant heat to forced air heating) the cost can run from $5,000 to $9,000.

    Other Considerations

    COVID-19 has brought attention this year to clean air systems. Concerns over coronavirus might lead you to consider filtration systems. Installing either a HEPA air filter or a humidifier in your ductwork can cost between $600 and $1,000.

    Repair vs Replacement of a 30-Year-Old Furnace?

    Should you repair or replace your aging furnace? Repair is usually cheaper, but with such an old system, how many repairs are going to be needed? Is it better to just replace it now and avoid those multiple repair costs over the next few years? Before you decide, it is important to note that there are budget-friendly HVAC home warranty offers available to cover your AC repairs and maintenance or replacement needs when they arise. Do your due diligence to check them out so that you can make the right decision.

    Here is a handy tutorial on the most common furnace problems and how to fix them.

    Also, if money is tight, consider this: for qualified homeowners, federal programs like LIHEAP can offer assistance with costs related to the repair and replacement of your old furnace. You can get assistance with repairs or even the installation of a new system. 

    Repair costs can range from $100s to $1,000 or more. The older the unit, the more likely the cost will be higher.

    Here are a few examples of average costs for repairing specific problems with a furnace:

    • Thermocouple cost – $100-$250
    • Thermostat cost – $100-$600
    • Blower Motor Capacitor cost – $150-$450
    • Ignitor cost – $150-$300
    • Heat Exchanger cost – $100-$200 for repair, or up to $1,500 for replacing the exchanger
    • Gas Valve cost – $200-$1,000

    You can see that most individual repairs cost much less than replacement. But when you factor in age, lack of efficiency, and overall aggravation, deciding between repair and replacement isn’t always easy. 

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    What’s The Cost To Repair an Older Furnace If You Have A Warranty?

    Manufacturer’s Warranty

    For a newer furnace, this would be a great option. But at 30 years old, your manufacturer’s warranty is out of the picture. 

    Home Warranty

    A home warranty will cover your HVAC system furnace and air conditioning, along with many other home systems and appliances. So you get some bang for your buck if you have an older system that is working but showing signs of wear and tear. Understand that with a home warranty on a furnace, you are unlikely to be compensated for an old one with pre-existing conditions – so if it’s already broken down and you don’t have a home warranty, getting a home warranty now isn’t going to help you.

    Be aware of the coverage limits on a home warranty, which may cover some repairs or partial replacement, but are unlikely to cover the entire cost of replacement, especially for oil and gas systems. For instance, American Home Shield will pay up to $1,500 for covered breakages. For whatever home warranty plan you might choose, be sure to read the service contract carefully. 

    What a home warranty will do is provide peace of mind.  

    DIY vs Hiring A Professional To Replace a 30-Year-Old Furnace?

    For replacing a whole furnace, you really should have someone who knows what they are doing. If you have a relative or buddy who is in the HVAC industry, by all means, enlist their help in the replacement of your furnace. But if you are a home repair novice, this is not something you’ll want to tackle on your own.

    But if you and your uncle or friend decide to tackle this on a weekend, you can save some money for sure. You might want to consult a furnace replacement guide or similar resource before tackling the job. The unit itself can cost anywhere from a few thousand up to $8,000+ for a Trane gas furnace. 

    An electric furnace will be significantly cheaper, from around $700 to around $2,000. 

    Labor costs will, of course, add to the overall cost of furnace replacement. But for an efficient furnace to replace your tired current furnace, calling in the pros might be the way to go. In terms of home improvement spending, having a professionally installed furnace is a good move. 

    When it comes to finding that professional, be sure to check references, ask about licenses and professional credentials they hold and get everything in writing.  

    Final Thoughts on Replacing a 30-Year-Old Furnace

    Well, that old hunk of metal has served you well. Replacing it will be a big deal. Your home will be more comfortable, and your energy bill will be lower. But it’s a big outlay of cash to consider, for sure. With the right information gathered, you will have the tools you need to make the right decision for you and your family. 

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    Then connect with local experts to get the held you need.
    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Alexis Bennett

    Alexis Bennett


    Alexis is a freelance writer with nearly a decade of experience covering the home services industry. She’s built considerable expertise in roofing, plumbing, and HVAC, as well as general construction and real estate matters. In her free time, Alexis enjoys coaching women’s golf. She lives in the Triad area of North Carolina.

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    photo of Andrew Dunn

    Andrew Dunn

    Senior Editor

    Andrew Dunn is a veteran journalist with more than 15 years of experience reporting and editing for local and national publications, including The Charlotte Observer and Business North Carolina magazine. His work has been recognized numerous times by the N.C. Press Association and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. He is also a former general contractor with experience with cabinetry, finish carpentry and general home improvement and repair. Andrew earned a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a certificate in business journalism. He lives in Charlotte, N.C.

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