The cost of replacing a furnace heat exchanger can range from $800 to $5,000, based on the type, size, and age of the furnace. Still, the majority of homeowners pay a bout $1,750.

Heat exchangers are an essential component of your furnace because they keep harmful gases like carbon monoxide out of the house in addition to allowing your furnace to heat it. Therefore, you should replace your heat exchanger as soon as possible if it is failing. This guide will help you budget for this crucial upgrade by covering typical heat exchanger replacement prices based on furnace type, age, and size.

Average Heat Exchanger Replacement Cost
Average Cost$1,750
Highest Cost$5,000
Lowest Cost$800

1. What Is a Heat Exchanger?

Furnace heat exchangers first heat the air before pumping it through ductwork to heat a house. The heat exchanger separates combustion gases from indoor air, such as carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide, using tubes and coils enclosed in a metal chamber. In essence, the exchanger allows heat to travel through to warm the air while containing dangerous combustion gases to prevent them from entering the house.

2. Heat Exchanger Cost Breakdown

The cost of replacing a heat exchanger depends on a number of variables, including labor and the kind of heat exchanger you’re replacing.

Changing out the primary heat exchanger

Without labor, main heat exchangers typically cost between $350 and $850. Heat exchangers for larger furnaces will be more expensive, while those for smaller furnaces will be closer to the lower end of that spectrum. Brands can also affect pricing.

Replacing the Heat Exchanger Secondary

A primary heat exchanger and a secondary heat exchanger that retains and repurposes heat from combustion gases that would otherwise escape are included in some high-efficiency furnaces. Replacing a secondary heat exchanger alone, without manpower, typically costs between $300 and $800.

Work

Depending on the size and location of the furnace, replacing a heat exchanger can take anywhere from five to eight hours, with most professionals charging between $75 and $125 per hour. Therefore, the average homeowner pays between $500 and $800 for labor. However, labor prices are typically higher, ranging from $150 to $250 per hour, if you want emergency service outside of usual business hours.

3. Heat Exchanger Replacement Costs by Type

Your expenditures may also vary depending on the type of furnace you have; regular furnaces are the least expensive, while commercial furnaces are the most expensive.

Boiler

In comparison to other heating types, replacing a heat exchanger in a boiler (as opposed to a furnace) should be reasonably priced, costing between $100 and $300, excluding installation.

Typical Furnace

Replacement parts for basic home furnaces are less expensive than those for other furnace types because of their straightforward and compact construction. Standard furnace heat exchangers typically range in price from $350 to $850.

High-Powered Furnace

There are two heat exchangers in high-efficiency furnaces: a primary heat exchanger and a secondary heat exchanger. A primary heat exchanger typically costs between $350 and $850, while secondary heat exchangers typically cost between $300 and $800.

Industrial Furnace

Heat exchangers for commercial furnaces are often the most expensive due to their vast size and sometimes complicated design; the cost can range from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the kind and size of furnace.

Factors That Determine Heat Exchanger Costs

The size and age of the furnace are two further variables that may impact the cost of replacing a heat exchanger.

Furnace Size

British Thermal Units (BTUs) are used to denote furnace capabilities or sizes. Larger furnaces require larger heat exchangers; therefore, in general, the more BTUs your furnace has, the more you should budget for a heat exchanger.

Furnace Age

The correct heat exchanger may be harder to find for an ancient furnace, which could raise the cost of replacement. Furnaces typically last between 15 and 20 years, so if the heat exchanger on yours fails when it is getting close to that age, it might be a better investment to replace the entire furnace instead of just the heat exchanger because other elements are probably going to break sooner.

Guarantee

For a predetermined period of years, typically between 10 and 20 years, certain furnace warranties cover the cost of replacement parts. If your furnace is still under warranty, you might be able to forego paying for the heat exchanger itself and instead just pay for labor.

Availability

Your prices may go up if your technician needs additional time or possibly specialized equipment to replace your furnace or heat exchanger since they are in a hard-to-reach spot.

Brand-to-brand variations in heat exchanger costs are common. While York and Carrier are normally the most expensive, Lennox, Goodman, and Rheem are usually the most reasonably priced. However, prices might vary based on the sort of product you require from each manufacturer.

4. Replacing a Heat Exchanger vs. Buying a New Furnace

Furnaces typically have a 15–20-year lifespan. It might be better to buy a new furnace instead of replacing the heat exchanger if yours breaks down after ten years or more of operation. At this point, other parts are probably going to break shortly, so you’ll probably need to replace the furnace nonetheless. Members of the editorial team conducted national and local surveys with a variety of six providers to determine the average costs reported in this article. The averaged data were accurate at the time of publishing, but they could vary now.

Questions to Ask About Heat Exchanger Replacement

By posing appropriate questions to an HVAC specialist, homeowners can prevent misunderstandings and improve their comprehension of the heat exchanger replacement procedure.

  • How long have you been working on furnaces?
  • Do you offer free estimates?
  • Can you walk me through the furnace inspection process?
  • Does the furnace inspection also include looking at the ducts and flue pipe?
  • What recommendations do you have regarding furnace repairs?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • What certifications do you have?
  • Will you provide a written estimate?
  • Can you provide references?
  • Do you have testimonials from previous customers?
  • Do you use original manufacturer parts?
  • What is the expected lifespan of the replacement heat exchanger?
  • How long will the replacement take?
  • Will you do a combustion analysis to test for carbon monoxide leaks?
  • Are there any additional costs that aren’t included in the pricing estimate?
  • How can I keep my furnace in good condition and improve the air quality in my home?
  • Do you offer any warranties or guarantees for parts and labor?
  • Do you offer a furnace maintenance plan?
  • How much longer do you think my furnace will last?
  • Will you provide a written list of the repairs and replacements?
  • How can I leave a review of your work?

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

When it comes time to replace their heat exchanger, many homeowners are frequently unaware of the associated costs and procedures. These responses to some commonly asked concerns about the most costly item to repair in a furnace, the lifespan of heat exchangers, their significance, and the length of time it takes to replace them can be helpful. Comprehending these factors can aid homeowners in making well-informed decisions and creating an appropriate budget.

What factors determine the cost of a heat exchanger replacement?

The cost of a heat exchanger replacement can vary depending on several factors. Firstly, the size and type of the heat exchanger play a significant role. Larger heat exchangers typically require more materials and labor, thus driving up the cost. Secondly, the complexity of the installation process can impact the overall expense.

If the replacement requires intricate adjustments or extensive dismantling, it may incur additional charges. Lastly, the availability and accessibility of replacement parts and skilled technicians in your area can influence the cost. Size and type of heat exchanger Complexity of installation process Availability of replacement parts and skilled technicians

How much does labor contribute to the overall cost?

Labor costs constitute a substantial portion of the overall expense of a heat exchanger replacement. The complexity of the installation process, including dismantling the old unit, preparing the site, and fitting the new heat exchanger, determines the amount of labor required.

Additionally, the hourly rates of skilled technicians or HVAC professionals involved in the replacement significantly impact the labor costs. Moreover, factors such as overtime charges or emergency service rates may also affect the final labor expenses. Complexity of installation process Hourly rates of skilled technicians Overtime charges or emergency service rates

Are there any additional expenses besides the replacement itself?

In addition to the cost of the heat exchanger replacement, there may be supplementary expenses to consider. For instance, if the replacement necessitates modifications to existing ductwork or piping, there will be additional material and labor costs associated with these alterations. Furthermore, depending on the location and condition of the heat exchanger, there might be cleanup or disposal fees for the old unit.

Lastly, it’s essential to factor in any potential permit fees or regulatory requirements mandated by local authorities. Modifications to existing ductwork or piping Cleanup or disposal fees for the old unit Permit fees or regulatory requirements

How can I minimize the cost of a heat exchanger replacement?

There are several strategies to mitigate the cost of a heat exchanger replacement. Firstly, conducting regular maintenance and addressing any minor issues promptly can prolong the lifespan of your heat exchanger, delaying the need for replacement. Additionally, obtaining multiple quotes from reputable HVAC companies can help you compare prices and negotiate a competitive rate.

Furthermore, exploring financing options or seasonal promotions offered by manufacturers or service providers may enable you to spread out the expense or benefit from discounted rates. Regular maintenance to prolong lifespan Obtaining multiple quotes for comparison Exploring financing options or seasonal promotions