By Katie Flannery | Updated Jan 27, 2023 2:55 PM
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Furnace maintenance is a necessary task for every homeowner. Keeping a consistent temperature throughout the home during the cold winter months not only makes a home comfortable, but it also keeps the water pipes from freezing and reduces the chance of mold and mildew growth. According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, furnace repair cost ranges from $131 to $486, with the national average at $308. While a service call for a simple repair on an electric furnace can cost as little as $65, a more substantial repair for a gas-powered furnace can run upwards of $1,250. The overall cost of furnace repair depends on the price of parts, local labor costs, and the exact issue that needs to be fixed.
Labor pricing varies by location, but homeowners can expect to pay between $75 and $125 per hour for a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional. Occasionally, HVAC professionals will charge a service fee for their time—even if no furnace repairs have been made. If they discover that repairs are needed, they will sometimes forgo the service fee and will only charge for labor and repairs. Since furnace and AC replacement cost is considerably more expensive than repairs, many homeowners carefully weigh the options between repair costs and HVAC unit replacement costs to make the decision that’s right for them.
It’s recommended that homeowners service and inspect their furnace at least once a year. Annual maintenance can help prevent issues and reduce the cost to replace furnace parts. This guide will break down the factors that affect furnace repair cost, additional expenses and considerations, different types of common furnace repairs, some red flags that signal a furnace needs repair, and some frequently asked questions regarding furnaces, maintenance, and repair.
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Calculating furnace repair cost depends on several crucial factors. Repair pricing can differ from the national average due to the type of repair, furnace fuel type, local labor costs, and geographic location.
The cost of furnace repairs is influenced by the type of furnace and the manufacturer, the difficulty and complexity of the repairs, the accessibility of the furnace, the local HVAC professional’s labor rates, the required parts, and the existing warranty. Some common repairs and replacements are related to the thermostat, blower motor, draft inducer motor, ignitor replacement, thermocouple replacement, flame sensor, gas valve, control or circuit board, capacitor, flue pipe, chimney liner, relay or high limit switches, pressure switch, transformer, oil combustion chambers, heat exchanger, coils, and filter. All of these repair types are discussed in more detail below.
When homeowners discover a problem with their furnace, they’ll want to call a repair technician as soon as possible. A small furnace issue can grow into a costly repair if ignored and, depending on the type of furnace, some repairs can be more expensive than others. Some of the most common types of furnaces are powered by electric, propane, gas, and oil. Below are different types of furnace fuel types and the average cost of repairs.
Labor costs average between $75 and $125 per hour, not including parts and materials. Emergency repairs can range from $140 to $210 per hour on holidays, weekends, after business hours, or for difficult-to-access locations. Homeowners will want to keep in mind that service fees often increase during the cold winter months due to high demand for repairs, and master HVAC professionals with numerous certifications and several years of experience charge more for their time.
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HVAC professionals will charge more for labor in densely populated urban areas that have a higher cost of living than in rural areas. The following are some examples of average prices in particular areas:
Homeowners can contact local HVAC professionals to get an accurate cost estimate for their area.
When budgeting for furnace repairs, homeowners may find it helpful to know about any additional costs and considerations that can drive up the price of repairs. These can include cleaning, tune-up and inspection, annual maintenance plan costs, emergency call-out fees, the cost of repair versus replacement, and the warranty type.
Furnace cleaning costs can run from $70 to $300, depending on the type and size of the furnace, maintenance requirements, the age of the furnace, and how long it’s been since the last cleaning. To keep a furnace in good working order, homeowners will want to have the filter replaced regularly. Depending on the brand, most furnace filters can cost from $10 to $30. Cleaning the air ducts that run throughout the home can cost an additional $300 to $700. Some HVAC companies offer discounts when furnace and air-duct cleaning services are combined. It’s recommended that homeowners ask their HVAC professional if they offer discounts or have promotions to help customers save on HVAC service costs.
Regular maintenance and service can prevent costly furnace repairs. Scheduling annual tune-ups that involve filter replacement and cleaning the burners, sensors, and areas where dust and dirt can collect can avert bigger problems in the future. A basic tune-up can cost between $70 and $200 and annual furnace upkeep ranges from $150 to $500 for a tune-up, inspection, and basic repairs.
The cost of a furnace inspection averages between $100 and $300, depending on the furnace brand, fuel type, and model. It’s recommended that homeowners request an inspection before they agree to any costly repairs or part replacements. An inspection includes the examination of the belts, coils, motor, transformers, and any other parts that are necessary to keep the furnace running smoothly. Furnaces that have complex zoned systems will cost more to inspect as will models that have difficult-to-access areas and parts. Regular furnace inspections are important to boost the lifespan of the hard-working heating system.
An annual service contract can include a tune-up, simple repairs, inspection, and cleaning. The average price for an annual maintenance plan ranges from $150 to $450. Many homeowners opt for an annual plan to save money on the individual service costs.
If a furnace stops working in the middle of the night or on a holiday, an HVAC professional will typically charge a higher emergency hourly fee that can range from $140 to $210. This fee is typically not waived for any reason.
Making a decision regarding whether to repair or replace a furnace depends on the types of repairs that are needed, the total cost, and the age of the heating system. If the system is relatively new and the cost of repairs is significantly less than a replacement, it’s generally advisable to choose the repairs. If the furnace is 15 years or older and regularly needs small repairs, the cost to replace the entire unit may be worth it for the increased efficiency. With saving money as the ultimate long-term goal, comparing the costs of repairs against the cost of replacement is worthwhile.
It’s important to check and see if the furnace warranty is still valid. Depending on the age of the heating system, a homeowner may not have to pay for specific parts or certain types of repairs. A furnace warranty may cover parts that commonly need to be repaired or replaced, such as the thermostat, motor, or capacitor. It’s typical for a warranty to not cover the cost of labor. In addition, a home warranty covers HVAC repair in many circumstances, unless the issue was caused by lack of maintenance or by homeowner negligence.
Furnace repair cost varies according to the needed repair, furnace brand, fuel type, parts, materials, and local labor costs. Some repairs are relatively quick and simple, while other repairs are complex, time-intensive, and much more expensive. Below are the various types of furnace repairs and their average costs.
One of the first things to check when a furnace is having problems is the thermostat. Replacing a thermostat can cost from $100 to $300, and upgrading to a programmable smart thermostat can cost as much as $600. Investing in a smart thermostat can save homeowners money by reducing heating costs by 10 to 30 percent.
Blower motor repairs can run from $150 and $450, while a full replacement can cost up to $2,000. Variable speed blower motors will cost more to replace than standard models. The blower motor, also known as a squirrel cage fan, pushes the warm air through the heating ducts. It’s common for blower motor malfunctions to signal the end of the life of the furnace. If that’s the case, the homeowner will need to weigh the value of the furnace and the cost of repairs against the furnace replacement cost.
Draft inducer motor repair and replacement costs range from $200 to $1,500. The draft inducer removes combustion gases through the heat exchanger and out the vent pipe to prevent harmful carbon monoxide buildup inside the home. If the draft inducer motor stops working, it’s imperative to repair or replace it as soon as possible.
An ignitor replacement costs $150 to $250, but if this part fails on a weekend or a holiday, that cost can increase to $350 to $500. A furnace ignitor creates the flame that enables the furnace to create heat for a home. The overall cost depends on the furnace fuel type, manufacturer, and model type. It’s common to replace the flame sensors at the same time as the ignitor, which can increase the repair bill by $75 to $250. A flame sensor detects an increase in temperature during the combustion process and signals the ignitor to end the process of lighting the furnace. Without a properly working ignitor and flame sensor, the furnace will not work correctly.
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A thermocouple costs about $150 to $250 to replace. This is an important part of a gas furnace since it opens the gas line when the pilot light is lit and will close the gas line when it’s not. New furnaces with a pilot light will have a flame sensor instead of a thermocouple, but they both do the same job.
The cost to replace a flame sensor runs between $75 and $250. A flame sensor is a thin metal rod that detects if the flame is lit. This safety device will turn the gas off and shut the furnace down if no flame is detected. This vital part is cleaned during annual tune-ups.
A gas valve costs approximately $200 to $600 to replace, depending on the accessibility of the gas line and the location of the problem. On gas or propane furnaces, the gas valve controls the flow of gas to maintain consistent temperatures and prevent gas leaks. Depending on the age of the furnace, the gas valve may clog or corrode over time.
Replacing the control or circuit board can cost from $200 to $600, depending on the type of board that is needed, the brand and model of the furnace, and the availability of the unit. When the circuit board malfunctions, any number of issues may arise, as this part controls everything on a furnace. It’s common for an HVAC professional to consider and then rule out every other potential problem before settling on a control board issue.
The cost to replace a capacitor ranges from $175 to $450, depending on its size, shape, and the manufacturer. A capacitor is an important part of a furnace since it powers the blower motor. If the capacitor stops working, the entire furnace may fail to create heat or prevent the motor from starting.
Flue pipe replacement costs range from $400 to $800, depending on the flue pipe material, length, accessibility, and the age and efficiency of the furnace. The purpose of a flue pipe is to vent the combustion fumes and carbon monoxide to the outside of the home. Newer propane and gas furnaces vent to the outside with metal ducts or PVC pipes. Oil-powered furnaces vent through a chimney, and they use stainless steel flues or vents. Electric furnaces don’t need a flue pipe since they don’t create fumes as part of the heating process.
An oil furnace needs to vent its fumes out through a chimney, which requires a liner for safety reasons. A chimney liner made of stainless steel can cost from $900 to $3,800.
Relay or high limit switches cost between $100 and $300 to replace. A relay switch carries electrical power to the furnace’s heating elements and the blower motor. A high limit switch can sense if the furnace is too hot or overheating and will shut down the burners and turn on the blower to cool down the system.
It can cost from $150 to $350 or more to replace a furnace pressure switch. A pressure switch will shut down the furnace if it detects negative pressure. It protects against backdrafting, which can allow dangerous combustion fumes to escape from the furnace and into the home.
A transformer replacement costs between $100 and $175. The furnace transformer regulates the electricity coming from the home to the furnace and transforms the power into a lower voltage so the furnace can run efficiently. If the transformer is overwhelmed by a power surge, it can fail. A broken transformer can shut down the power to the furnace and render it useless.
Oil furnaces have an oil chamber, where the oil is stored, and a molded ceramic fiber oil combustion chamber, where the oil travels to heat up and create warmth for a home. An oil chamber replacement can run from $100 to $200, and a combustion chamber can cost between $200 and $600 to replace. A cracked or broken oil combustion chamber can leak dangerous fumes into the home and be a fire hazard.
Heat exchanger repairs can run from $100 to $200, and a full replacement can cost from $500 to $1,500, depending on furnace brand, age, and size. It’s common for an HVAC professional to advise homeowners to replace instead of repair the unit if the heat exchanger is broken, since there is a risk of carbon monoxide leaks. A heat exchanger separates the combustion process inside the furnace from the air that’s pushed through the home via the vents. Electric furnaces do not have heat exchangers, so homeowners with an electric unit do not have to worry about this expense.
Furnace coil replacement for HVAC units with both a furnace and an air conditioning unit commonly run between $600 and $2,000. The furnace coil, also called an evaporator coil, will cool the air inside the home during the summer and will push warm air out of the furnace during the colder months. An electric furnace may have a furnace or evaporator coil if it is connected to a central air conditioning system.
Replacing the furnace filter is something that homeowners can do on their own. Filters usually cost between $10 and $30, depending on the brand. A clogged and dirty filter can prevent the furnace from working properly, and an extremely dirty filter may cause the furnace to stop working altogether. It’s recommended that furnace filters be changed every 1 to 3 months.
There are a few red flags that signal when a furnace needs repair. One of the most obvious signs is when the furnace stops working and isn’t warming the house. For certain types of furnaces, depending on the fuel type, there are signs to listen and watch for that can help homeowners prevent replacements and costly repairs.
One of the most obvious signs that a furnace isn’t working properly is the loss of heat. A furnace that’s not producing enough heat despite the proper temperature setting may signal a broken thermostat or leaky ductwork. The only way to find out for sure is to contact an HVAC professional to make sure the problem isn’t more serious.
If a homeowner notices water leaking from the furnace, they will need to call an HVAC professional as soon as possible. Water leaks can be a sign of a heat exchanger issue, which can be an expensive fix. Leaks can also be caused by a clogged furnace filter, a full condensation pan from an air conditioning unit, clogged pipes that restrict the condensation from draining and causing it to pool, a broken or clogged humidifier, or a broken or blocked pipe in the plumbing that can back up in the drainage system.
It’s common for the furnace to have an odor the first time it turns on for the season. If the heating unit starts to produce unusual odors or the smell of fuel is strong around the furnace, it could be signs of a fuel leak or dust buildup inside the system. To find out the exact problem, homeowners will want to call in an expert so they can determine the issue.
The sounds of the furnace running shouldn’t involve banging, squealing, or grinding noises. If the heating unit is making unusual noises, it could be a sign of broken or loose parts.
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A malfunctioning furnace will repeatedly cycle on and off. Some reasons for the frequent cycling are problems with overheating, a malfunctioning thermostat, or a furnace that’s too big for the size of the home. A furnace that runs through repeated short cycles can be permanently damaged and cause increased energy bills.
If a homeowner notices that their utility bills are significantly more expensive than they were at the same time of the previous year, there could be problems with the furnace. An inefficient furnace can drive up energy bills. An HVAC professional can assess any issues with the furnace and make the necessary repairs to reduce heating costs and increase energy efficiency.
While it may be tempting for a homeowner to tackle furnace repairs to save money, this is a job that’s best left to the professionals. Homeowners may be capable of completing some furnace maintenance on their own, such as replacing the filter or cleaning an outdoor HVAC unit, but furnace repairs and part replacements will typically need to be done by an experienced professional.
Attempting to repair a furnace without the proper experience, skills, and knowledge can be dangerous to a homeowner, their family, and their pets. Some potential hazards include gas or carbon monoxide leaks, electrical shock, and increased risk of fire. Diagnosing furnace problems can be tricky for an inexperienced DIYer. Since there can be multiple potential culprits for each obvious issue, only an HVAC professional can evaluate the problem, make the right repairs, and replace parts quickly and efficiently.
When the time comes to buy replacement parts, a professional has access to wholesale pricing that isn’t available to the general public. HVAC contractors receive safety training and certifications to avoid the risks that are associated with furnace repairs to keep everyone in the household safe. It’s recommended that homeowners schedule yearly tune-ups and inspections to make sure the furnace is running properly and to call a professional when it’s time for repairs or replacement.
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Furnace repair is often an unavoidable part of home ownership. Keeping a furnace running properly involves regular maintenance and keeping on top of repairs. Planning for furnace repair costs can be a daunting experience, and the additional costs associated with the repairs can quickly skyrocket. One way to save is to opt for minimal repairs and use the cheapest materials, but there are other ways to save without compromising on quality or skimping on necessary repairs. Below are some ways to save money on furnace repair costs.
Furnace repair can be a tedious process, and asking a furnace repair professional the right questions can minimize miscommunication, save money, and get homeowners the desired results. Below are some questions to ask about furnace repair.
Before deciding on hiring one of the best HVAC companies to repair a furnace, homeowners will want to have all the information they need regarding the cost. Below are some frequently asked questions about furnaces and furnace repair.
A maintained and properly cared for furnace will typically last for about 15 to 20 years. With routine servicing, it may last even longer. Oil furnaces usually last the longest, and gas furnaces have the shortest lifespans.
There are a few signs a furnace needs repairs or, depending on the extent of the problems, replacement. Some signs include the following:
If a homeowner discovers any of these issues, it’s recommended that they call in an HVAC professional as soon as possible.
There could be a few reasons a furnace runs but doesn’t produce heat. Some troubleshooting tips are to check the thermostat and make sure it’s on the “heat” setting. If the thermostat is set to the “on” setting, the furnace will constantly run even if it’s not warming up the air. When the thermostat is set to the “auto” setting, the furnace will only turn on and push air through the vents when it’s time to heat the house. Sometimes furnaces need a few minutes to push out the colder air from the vents before the warmer air comes out of them. If the air is still cool after a few minutes, check for the following issues:
If these homeowner troubleshooting tips don’t work or the source of the problem can’t be identified, call in a furnace professional to solve the problem.
The most common problem with furnaces is a faulty thermostat. If the furnace fan is constantly running, check the thermostat settings to ensure the fan is programmed on the “auto” setting. If it’s set to the “on” position, the fan will constantly run, whether or not the furnace is producing warm air.
Some of the most expensive parts of a furnace are the blower motor, heat exchanger, and draft inducer motor. A blower motor can cost $2,000 for a replacement, the heat exchanger averages $1,500 to replace, and a draft inducer motor runs up to $1,500 for a replacement.
When a furnace is old and is no longer energy efficient, it’s worth it to replace the furnace. Spending the money for a new furnace will save on energy bills, and the new furnace will be fuel efficient. The average price to install a new furnace is $4,000, depending on the size, brand, and fuel type. The price of a new gas furnace ranges from $4,000 to $15,000, and the cost of a new electric furnace runs from $1,600 to $6,900.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, Fixr, Forbes
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