How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Heat Exchanger?

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Heat Exchanger Review

Written By: Alexis Bennett

Edited by: Andrew Dunn

Are problems with your heating system causing you to wonder, “how much does it cost to replace a heat exchanger?” If so, we can help. 

In this cost guide, you will learn:

  • What is your heat exchanger?
  • Can you fix a cracked heat exchanger?
  • How long do heat exchangers last?
  • How much will a heat exchanger replacement cost?

With the cooling season right around the corner, you will want your heater to work efficiently. Any weaknesses could cause malfunctions when you put your system to the test.  

So, here is everything you need to know about replacing your heat exchanger. 

What Is A Heat Exchanger?

The heat exchanger is a thin metal part that connects the combustion chamber to the blower. It is responsible for separating the chemicals produced during the combustion process from the air you breathe, and it helps to distribute the heat created by your furnace to your home. 

If it is not working correctly, your furnace may struggle to maintain a comfortable temperature. A cracked heat exchanger could cause harmful gases to buildup in your home if you have a gas furnace. 

Depending on your furnace’s condition and age, it is a good idea to install carbon monoxide detectors.

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How Long Do Heat Exchangers Last? 

Your heat exchanger should last for the life of your heating system. So, most homeowners will never have to replace the heat exchanger. Instead, they will end up replacing their entire furnace. 

However, there are times when you may need to replace the heat exchanger sooner. Most heat exchangers have a 10 to 20-year manufacturer warranty. Your warranty is a good indication of how long you can rely on a part.

How Much Does A Heat Exchanger Replacement Cost? 

Heat exchanger prices depend on several factors, the quality, size, energy-efficiency, and whether it is a gas or electric furnace. The average costs for replacing your exchanger is about $1,500. 

However, it can cost as little as $500 or as much as $3,500. If the heat exchanger is cracked or malfunctioning before you would typically expect it, there may be another issue with your HVAC system

For example, if the blower is not working correctly, the restricted airflow could cause the temperature to rise too high and damage the furnace heat exchanger. 

So, it may be necessary to replace several parts in order to repair your furnace. It might also be a sign that you should invest in a new furnace. 

Furthermore, a new furnace is often less expensive than replacing or repairing an old heat exchanger.

Technician using a wrench to repair heat exchanger for maintenance

Product Warranty Repairs

If your heat exchanger is still under warranty, the manufacturer will cover the cost of the part. However, they will not pay for labor to remove the defective part or install the new heat exchanger. 

So, even if your exchanger is still under warranty, you can expect to pay around $500 for the replacement.

Is It More Cost-Effective To Replace The Heat Exchanger Or Buy A New Furnace? 

If you need to replace more than one furnace component, it is likely time for you to replace the entire unit. When you start changing out parts, other weaknesses in the system generally present themselves. 

So, instead of putting a costly heat exchanger in a dying old furnace, it is much better to invest a bit more for a brand new furnace. 

The average cost for a new gas furnace is about $3,000. The prices range from $2,000 to $6,000. 

Replacing your furnace will help you save money on electricity, and it will give you peace of mind. No one wants to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning from a broken heat exchanger, which is why many HVAC professionals suggest replacing the furnace before the end of its life, and a fractured heat exchanger is a pretty good indication that it is about that time. 

How Do You Know If You Need A Heat Exchanger Replacement?

The average homeowner may not even realize their heat exchanger needs repairs. Even a cracked heat exchanger may not be visible to the naked eye.

So, here are some things you should keep an eye out for, especially if you have an older furnace.

Soot in your furnace – One of the heat exchanger functions is to prevent the combustion gases from mixing with your home’s air. When soot is visible in your furnace, it is a good indication that it is not burning clean, and your heat exchanger could be the problem. 

A clicking sound – If your furnace makes a clicking sound after it shuts off, it can be an indication that your heat exchanger has a crack and you need to replace it. 

You see corrosion – Corrosion is normal in a unit that is close to the end of its lifespan. If you spot corrosion with your naked eye, it is a pretty good indicator that it is time for a furnace replacement. 

You smell a bad odor – If there is a problem with your evaporator coil, you may notice a foul smell. A cracked heat exchanger will allow the chemicals created during the heating process to escape.

The foul scent could be formaldehyde or other toxic chemicals created during the heating and cooling process.

The age of your furnace – If your furnace is more than 8 years old, it is only a matter of time before you need to change the heat exchanger and other vital parts.  

Note –  If you notice any strange smells, go outside and call the gas company. They will be more than happy to send a technician out to ensure there are no gas leaks. 

When it comes to natural gas or any other flammable fuel, you can never be too careful and your energy provider offers emergency service for gas leaks. So, do not hesitate to call if you suspect a gas leak. 

Did You Know How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Heat Exchanger Facts

How Can You Extend The Life Of Your Heat Exchanger? 

Furnace maintenance is essential for keeping your furnace running efficiently for as long as possible. But how do you maintain your furnace? 

Well, some of the most beneficial things you can do are simple. Here is a list: 

  • Replace your air filters every 30 to 60 days. 
  • Have your HVAC system serviced bi-annually. 
  • Turn the thermostat temperature down during the day, so the furnace does not run all-day
  • Complete minor furnace repairs quickly to prevent more severe issues. 
  • Clean your furnace coils. 
  • Check each part of your furnace regularly to ensure they are all in good condition.
  • If your furnace is overheating, turn it off.  

For more furnace maintenance tips, check out this video:

Proper maintenance helps to keep your system working efficiently. That means your energy bills are lower and there is less wear on your furnace.   

Buy An Air Conditioning, Heating, And Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) Rated Device

When you decide to replace your furnace, make sure you purchase an AHRI certified residential furnace. Furnaces recommended by the organization are not only safer, but they are also more energy-efficient. 

You can locate AHRI endorsed parts on the website. The AHRI rating for each product includes input rating, output heating capacity, whether or not the product is rerated, and if it is eligible for a tax deduction. 

Final Advice For How Much Does It Cost To Replace Your Heat Exchanger

The bottom line is, if your heat exchanger is cracked or damaged, you will need an HVAC technician to do a furnace installation. The furnace will cost around $5,000 with installation costs and most new units include a lifetime warranty. 

However even if your furnace is still covered under a parts warranty, there will be some furnace repair costs that are your responsibility, such as labor and disposal of old ductwork, heat exchangers, metal coils, flues, and other furnace components. 

That means even if your heat exchanger is completely covered under the maker’s warranty, you can expect to pay around $500 to have it installed. That is why thousands of homeowners across the country invest in a home warranty plan. 

Your home warranty picks up when the manufacturer warranty expires and it helps you pay for parts and labor up to the limits of the policy for all covered items. So, you do not have to worry about whether you need a new heat exchanger or a total furnace replacement.