Published: December 19, 2017

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Furnaces never break down at the right time – it typically happens in the dead of night or the middle of winter. And in most cases, you can’t tell there is something wrong with your furnace until it stops working altogether. While the worry of a high price tag may steer you away from getting your furnace repaired, we strongly recommend you don’t ignore any issues that are preventing your home from heating correctly.

It’s difficult to say exactly how much a furnace repair or replacement will cost, we can explain what signs to look for that may indicate it’s time for a repair, and estimate what these repairs may cost:

  1. Ignitors or flame sensors. An ignitor malfunction is the most common reason why a furnace breaks down. When ignitors aren’t maintained properly, dirt can build up inside, eventually shorting out the circuit system and damaging the entire HVAC unit. Because most ignitor replacements happen as an emergency service, they will cost about $400. If they are part of a routine maintenance service, they will cost about $200. Similarly, flame sensors often become too dirty and malfunction, but these sensors can be fixed with a thorough cleaning. However, if it’s too far gone and you must replace the flame sensor, it will cost you anywhere from $80 – $250.
  2. Thermostat. Often times, a faulty thermostat is interpreted as a furnace problem. However, a malfunction with your thermostat is the best possible issue you can encounter with your HVAC system. If your house isn’t heating up, check your thermostat first. It could be a battery issue – in which replacing the batteries should fix the problem and an HVAC contractor would only charge you a service fee. However, if you need a thermostat replacement, the most basic model will cost you about $20, while a smart thermostat could cost up to $200 or more depending on the features.
  3. Furnace motor. A dying furnace motor is the most serious and expensive repair you could encounter. This takes much more time and money to resolve than a broken thermostat or a dirty flame sensor. Depending on whether or not your HVAC contractor has the correct replacement motor available, it could cost you between $400 and $1,500.
  4. Full furnace replacement. Many factors go into the process of replacing your entire furnace. The average cost of a full furnace installation is $4,000. Home Advisor has created a handy tool for determining the average cost of a furnace repair or replacement in your geographical area. Check it out here.

Preventing Furnace Breakdowns

Below are our top tips for preventing furnace breakdowns and delaying repairs as long as possible:

  1. Change your furnace filter monthly. Some professionals recommend changing your filter on a quarterly basis, but we suggest as often as monthly to be on the safe side. Dirty filters will block airflow and cause damage to your system.  
  2. Schedule your seasonal maintenance checks. Scheduling annual appointments with your HVAC professional is essential to preventing breakdowns. The best way to catch small issues before they become large problems is to have a professional take a look before peak seasons, specifically summer and winter. Additionally, scheduling your check-ins in advance will be easy to work into your budget, instead of turning into an unexpected and expensive maintenance call.
  3. Hire a high-quality HVAC contractor. Don’t choose the contractor who gives you the cheapest quote, but rather one who will give you the right amount of time and attention and quality care to your HVAC system. Ask these six questions before hiring an HVAC professional. 

The thought of your furnace breaking down can be overwhelming, which is why we strongly suggest familiarizing yourself with your furnace, and having a quality HVAC contractor on hand if something does go wrong. It isn’t safe or comfortable to ignore furnace problems, so call us at 770-766-8714 or schedule an appointment online, especially if you’re having issues or if you’re in need of an HVAC check-up. We’re happy to help!