If you need to replace your furnace heat exchanger, you’re probably wondering how much it’s going to cost you.
The bottom line: Replacing a furnace heat exchanger can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500+.
Yikes... we realize that’s an expensive replacement. However, if your heat exchanger is cracked, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible. A cracked heat exchanger can leak carbon monoxide into your home, causing larger health and safety issues.
When it comes to this big of an investment, we know you have questions. We’ll answer a few common ones, including:
- What is a heat exchanger?
- What causes a heat exchanger to crack?
- What will affect the cost of replacement?
- Should I replace my heat exchanger or my whole furnace?
Rather have an expert estimate the price of a furnace heat exchanger replacement? That’s what we’re here for.
What is a heat exchanger?
Essentially, a heat exchanger is the part of your furnace that actually heats the air.
The heat exchanger is made up of coils that are heated by burners in your furnace. Cold air is blown over those hot coils, which transfer their heat to the cold air, turning it into warm air.
As you can see, the heat exchanger is a vital part of your furnace. If it’s cracked, your furnace can’t do its job well.
What causes a heat exchanger to crack?
First of all, if your heat exchanger is cracked, you should be able to physically see a crack.
“Any crack or hole that is big enough to affect combustion will be easily visible to the naked eye.” – Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)
Unfortunately, some techs will try to scam homeowners into thinking they need to replace their heat exchanger when they don’t. If you can’t see a crack in your heat exchanger or a technician refuses to point it out to you, you should get a second opinion before moving forward with a heat exchanger replacement.
If you can see a crack in your heat exchanger, chances are it was caused by overheating.
Overheating is caused by:
- Lack of maintenance
- A dirty filter
- An oversized furnace
When your furnace overheats, the heat exchanger’s coils expand and contract, resulting in stress cracks in bends and welds of the coils. If this isn’t taken care of, there is a high probability that carbon monoxide will leak into your home through the cracked heat exchanger.
What will affect the cost of replacement?
The two biggest factors that determine the cost of replacing your heat exchanger are:
#1: Cost of Labor: Replacing a heat exchanger can take up to 10 hours. Because the heat exchanger is such an integral part of the furnace, a technician will need to disassemble the furnace to remove the old heat exchanger and install the new one.
#2: Warranty: If you have either a parts or labor warranty on your heat exchanger, this will significantly decrease the cost of replacement.
While a parts warranty may cover the cost of the heat exchanger itself, a labor warranty will also be extremely beneficial.
Our suggestion is to get in touch with the company or contractor who originally installed your furnace. They should be able to tell you if your furnace is still under warranty (both parts and labor).
Should I replace my heat exchanger or my whole furnace?
The answer to this really comes down to the age of your furnace. If your furnace is close to 15 years old already, the best financial decision may be to replace your entire furnace.
Typically, furnaces only last 15 to 20 years. You don’t want to invest $3,500+ on a heat exchanger only to have to replace your entire furnace a few years later.
If your furnace is relatively new (under 10 years) the most cost-effective option is to just replace your heat exchanger.
Need to replace your furnace heat exchanger in Pittsburgh?
All of our local technicians have 10,000 hours of training, so you can be sure your heat exchanger replacement will be done safely and correctly.