Thoughts on Replacing a Furnace

Gene and Katie Hamilton

Replacing a furnace or central air conditioner can intimidate any homeowner because it’s not a trivial investment and there’s a lot to know about choosing an appropriate unit. The experts at Trane, a major HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) manufacturer, have some suggestions. A furnace should last 12-18 years with proper maintenance; an older model can run longer, but may require lots of maintenance which could end up costing home owners in the long run.

When choosing a new unit make sure to avoid purchasing an oversized unit to avoid uneven temperature problems within your home. In our opinion replacing a furnace is not a do-it-yourself job, and best left to a local dealer who will visit your home, measure and inspect it and recommend the best size.

SEER stands for seasonal energy efficient ratio and it’s a useful reference to make your decision when choosing a new unit. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures air conditioning and heat pump cooling efficiency, which is calculated by the cooling output for a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same time frame. A higher SEER rating means greater energy efficiency. For example, consider any unit above 16 SEER which is considered high efficiency. This rating could help you save money heating and cooling your home.

For more information go to And visit to learn more about the cost of home improvements.


Gene and Katie Hamilton are authors of 20 home improvement books and creators of, a website that compares the DIY and contractor costs of hundreds of repair, decorating and remodeling projects. Their weekly column Do It Yourself or Not is syndicated by Tribune Content Agency.
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