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Mike Smith Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC Blog

The 50% Cost Rule for Getting a New Heater


If your heater is having a problem, we always advocate for prompt repairs. Getting something fixed right away can make the difference between a small repair (and a small bill) and major components being damaged and needing to be replaced (which means a much larger bill). But there are times when it just doesn’t make sense to pay for a repair. How can you tell whether you should keep investing in your old heater or get a new one? Let us explain the 50% rule.

The 50% Cost Rule for Heater Repair and Replacement

The basic idea is this: if you encounter a very costly repair need, such as when major components have to be replaced, consider that cost in comparison to the cost of a new heating system. If the repair will cost 50% or more of what the replacement would cost, it’s not generally considered a good use of your money. Keep in mind that after these specific components are replaced with brand-new ones, all the other parts of your heater will still be just as old or worn out or likely to break as they were before. How much is it worth to keep that old heater running? How soon will you encounter another expensive repair need?

Age of Your Heater

Once a heater’s age is in the double digits, you know time is running out. A gas-burning system that is professionally maintained every year is likely to keep running well until it’s about fifteen years old. An electric heater, also meticulously maintained, might last twenty years. But no amount of maintenance, and no amount of money invested in repairs, will make a heater last forever. So the older a heating system is, the less sensible it is to spend a lot of money on repairs because you know that in the next few years, you’ll be replacing it anyway. Old heaters also encounter more-frequent problems, requiring more-frequent repairs, and they don’t operate quite as efficiently as they once did, so you’ll be spending more just to keep it fueled up.

Frequency of Repair Needs

Maybe the one repair your heater needs now doesn’t quite make the 50% cutoff. Perhaps it’ll only be 30% of the cost of a new heater. But is this repair a very rare occasion? Or have you been putting money into repairs like this every year, or more than once a year? Those individual costs may well add up to much more than 50% of the cost of replacing the system. And as your heater ages, you’ll be seeing more repair needs, not fewer.

Getting an Expert Opinion

If you’re not sure whether this repair would meet the 50% threshold, if you’re unclear on the costs associated with replacing the heater, or if you want a better idea of the overall well-being of your heating system, it’s best to get an expert opinion. Our technicians can assess your heater in detail and give you clear options. That way, whatever decision you make about repair or replacement, you will be confident in the knowledge that you made a well-informed choice. Our team would be happy to discuss repair, replacement, installation, maintenance, and heating service in Monroe, LA with you. 

Contact Mike Smith Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC. We provide “Professional grade service.”

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