Cost to Replace a Furnace Heat Exchanger in Minnesota

Does this situation sound familiar?

A furnace technician came to your home to check your furnace and, at some point, declared, “Your heat exchanger is cracked and you need a new one.”

Then, you got the price to replace it—and your jaw dropped. “It’s HOW much?!” Of course, you want a second opinion.

Well, here you go: The typical cost to replace a heat exchanger ranges from $1,000 to $2,000. Yes, it is quite expensive.

This price goes up and down depending on a few things:

  • Your parts warranty— If it’s still valid, that’ll save you about $500 to $600.
  • The type of heat exchanger— More efficient furnaces have more expensive heat exchangers.
  • The technician you call—Some people charge at a flat rate. Some charge per hour. Everybody’s flat-rate and hourly price varies based on their experience and what they need to stay in business. Regardless, it takes 5-8 hours to replace a heat exchanger, which is why the labor cost is so high. 

So now your next question is probably, “Should I replace the heat exchanger or get a new furnace?”

Well, before we answer that, here’s the first question you should be asking, “Is my heat exchanger actually cracked?

How to tell if your heat exchanger is actually cracked

If your heat exchanger is cracked, your technician should be able to show you because serious heat exchanger cracks are easily visible.

According to the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), “Disassemble the furnace until you can visually inspect all heat exchanger exterior surfaces. Any crack or hole that is big enough to affect combustion will be easily visible to the naked eye.” (Emphasis ours.)

They continue by saying, “If there are any abnormal splits, cracks or holes, the heat exchanger must be replaced.”

So if your technician tried to show you cracks in the heat exchanger by using water or a smoking agent, that won’t tell you anything. 

Besides looking at the heat exchanger, the technician can also infer that the heat exchanger is cracked by:

  • Detecting high levels (100+ ppm/parts per million) of carbon monoxide in the flue pipe. Carbon monoxide could be leaking out of the crack from the combustion process.
  • Seeing soot buildup on internal parts due to improper combustion
  • Looking at the burner flames. Normally, burner flames are steady and blue. If they’re yellow/orange and dance around, then there may be a crack in the heat exchanger. 

OK, so let’s assume your heat exchanger is actually cracked. Should you replace it or consider getting a new furnace?

Replace the heat exchanger or install a new furnace?

The answer: It mainly depends on the age on your furnace. The closer it is to 18 years old (the average lifespan of a furnace) the more likely you should consider replacing the furnace.

Think about it this way: Plenty of other furnace parts are most likely going to die soon. These multiple repairs, alongside the cost of the heat exchanger, will quickly add up to the cost of a new furnace. So replacing the heat exchanger now may be throwing money at a lost cause, like replacing an engine in an old car.

But, let’s say your furnace is only 10 years old and your warranty is valid. In this case, replacing the heat exchanger is definitely an option. 

Need a second opinion on a heat exchanger or furnace?

Still not sure what you should do? Or just want a second price estimate? If you live in Minnesota, we can help. Contact On-Time Service Pros for help

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