If that red tag affixed to your furnace has focused your attention, it’s already done part of its job. Now it must motivate you to act — and promptly.
It probably was a heating/air conditioning or a utility company technician who found a crack in the heat exchanger and then either pulled the plug on the electrical cord or disconnected the gas valve and capped off the gas line. In either case, your red-tagged furnace is no longer operable.
This condition, in turn, means that you either must repair or replace the heat exchanger or purchase a new furnace. Running the furnace with a faulty heat exchanger is not an option, as reconnecting the furnace to the gas line could put you in violation of local laws and could cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide to leak through those cracks and into your home.
You might consider repairing or replacing the heat exchanger if:
- The exchanger is still covered under warranty
- The furnace is less than 10 years old
- The cost of the repair constitutes less than 25 percent of the cost of purchasing a new furnace
Keep in mind that in order to replace the heat exchanger, your entire furnace must be disassembled, which means that the labor costs won’t be cheap. And then you might be in the situation of having a new heat exchanger in an older furnace. For a bit more money, you might be better off purchasing a new, more efficient furnace.
Purchasing a new Energy Star-labeled furnace might be wise if:
- Your furnace is more than 7 years old
- You have a low-efficiency furnace, meaning that it operates at between 68 and 72 percent efficiency
- The cracks are beyond repair
A red-tagged furnace is a serious problem that won’t improve on its own. To help you find the right solution, call the pros at All Year Heating, Air Conditioning and Solar. We will thoroughly inspect your furnace, discuss your options and help you make a safe and economical decision. Serving the Greater Sacramento area, we’re always happy to help.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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