Should You Replace Your Furnace Now Or Wait Later?

As you endure the dog days of summer, your heating system's health is probably the furthest thing from your mind. Nevertheless, your furnace deserves the same attention your air conditioner gets — especially as the summer heat gives way to cooler fall and winter weather.

At this point, you have two options. You can have your furnace replaced now while summer's in full swing or schedule a replacement later in the year. The following explains some of the benefits and drawbacks behind both options.

The Case for Replacing Your Furnace Right Now

Upgrading to a new heating system during the summer months offers plenty of advantages:

  1. More time for shopping - You can compare both prices and features among the most popular furnaces at your leisure, which makes it easier to choose a furnace that works best for your home's heating needs.
  2. More time for budgeting - You'll also have more time to create a budget and even save money towards your furnace replacement if you decide to forgo financing options.
  3. No loss in home comfort - You won't have to worry about hours or even days of discomfort as your HVAC technician makes the appropriate upgrades. Replacing your furnace won't get in the way of your home's air conditioning, in most cases, leaving your home comfortable throughout the process.
  4. Wider equipment selection - Demand for heating equipment is also at its lowest during the summer, making it much easier to purchase the furnace with the features you want. Variable-speed motors and secondary heat exchangers are popular options for energy-efficient furnaces.
  5. No surprises - Replacing your furnace now means you won't run into any nasty surprises later in the year.

The only downside is finding an HVAC technician who isn't busy with air conditioning repairs. However, demand for A/C repairs typically wane towards the latter half of the summer season, so you'll have an easier time finding a trusted technician for your furnace installation.

What Happens If You Decide to Wait

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to wait to replace your furnace. You might not be financially prepared to tackle a furnace upgrade right away. You might even believe that you can coax more life out of a furnace that's nearing its end. Whatever the reason, putting off your furnace upgrade for a later date can have its share of advantages and caveats.

If you plan on replacing your furnace and air conditioner at the same time, for instance, waiting for cooler weather may be a smarter choice. The early- to mid-fall season usually brings milder temperatures, which means you'll neither sweat nor shiver as your new HVAC equipment is being installed. A fall installation gives you even more time to prepare for the upgrade, giving you a bigger budget and a better idea of the heating solution you're looking for.

However, waiting too late to upgrade your furnace can prove costly in more ways than one. With HVAC technicians in high demand for heating repairs, finding a technician for a furnace install can take longer during the winter months. Mid-winter furnace upgrades can also prove more costly due to higher labor rates.

Last but not least is the issue of home comfort. Even during the mildest of winters, being without your main source of heat can be extremely uncomfortable for you and for others in your home. Although you could potentially make do with portable heaters or other alternative forms of heat, a mid-winter furnace upgrade could mean a night or two spent in a warm, toasty hotel room — or shivering under the covers at home.