How much does it cost to replace the heat exchanger of a furnace?
The heat exchanger, or heater core, is the most important part of your furnace, as it is hub of all combustion and heat-related activity. The most common mishap in a heat exchanger is a crack, which happens from the metal changing temperatures. A cracked heat exchanger is typically noticed when the homeowner reports not having heat or when the carbon monoxide detector goes off. The good news is that heat exchangers typically last 15-20 years. We'll look at the cost of replacing a standard heat exchanger, which costs $1000-$1700.
- Materials: a typical heat exchanger costs $300-$500. Older furnaces may have heat exchangers that are harder to find, and therefore, more expensive.
- Labor: most HVAC contractors charge $85-$95 per hour and will typically take 6-8 hours to replace a heater core 1. Expect total labor costs of $510-$760.
Enhancement and improvement costs
- For furnaces that are 10 years old or older, it may be a better choice to replace the entire furnace than just the heat exchanger. Talk to your HVAC specialist for a specific recommendation. A common electric furnace can be installed for $2000-$4000.
- A cracked heat exchanger can leak more carbon monoxide into the home. If you are worried about the aftermath of this, a carbon monoxide detector 2 can be purchased and plugged in for as little as $15.
Additional considerations and costs
- Some heat exchangers may crack when the furnace is still under warranty. If this applies to you, contact the furnace manufacturer about payment options.
Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet
Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Heater core
: A device that allows heat from one fluid to be transferred to another fluid without the two fluids coming into contact. The heat is transferred through the walls of the pipe that keeps the two fluids separate
: Device that responds to a physical event or change in the environment by emitting an output signal
Cost to replace the heat exchanger of a furnace varies greatly by region (and even by zipcode). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.