If your furnace stops working, it is going to come down to repair or replacement. Some problems are bigger than others, but there are also individual factors that only you will know the answers to. Here are three factors to keep in mind when your furnace acts up, which will help you decide whether repair or replacement is the better option for you.

1. The Age of Your Furnace

You can expect the life if your furnace to be about 15 to 20 years. If your furnace is a newer model, repair and maintenance will be the most cost efficient, and can keep your furnace working well for years to come. While repair might still be an option for an older furnace, other factors to think about are energy efficiency and what newer furnaces can provide. Better quality heating and lower energy bills can quickly outweigh initial replacement costs.

2. Maintenance History

Preventative maintenance is important for a furnace to work efficiently. If your furnace has been neglected, starting fresh with a new furnace might be in order. If you haven't had repairs in over two years, basic maintenance is important. Have a contractor come out to seal ducts, check wiring and provide basic service. This will save you money in the long run, and  extend the life of your furnace. Signs such as energy costs creeping up, or creaking and clanking every time your furnace ignites, are small indicators that it is time to have your furnace serviced. If you have been diligent with the upkeep of your furnace, it most likely can be repaired rather than replaced.

3. Cost and Your Budget

Once you have a good sense of the cost to repair your furnace versus replacement, you can review where this would fit into your budget. If your furnace is older, replacement might be the best option.  If this doesn't fit in with your budget, work with your contractor to find out if you can safely repair your furnace for another season or two, until you can afford replacement. Conversely, if repair costs are close to the cost of replacement, replacement just makes more sense.

Work with licensed HVAC contractors to give you advice on whether it is time to fix or replace your furnace.  Factors such as your budget, the age of your furnace and maintenance history are individual factors that you will need to discuss with your contractor.