When the cold season approaches, everyone is on high alert, especially concerning their heating system. No one wants to be caught off-guard without a way to handle the freezing temperatures.
Having your furnace in perfect shape is the best thing you can do for your home during winter. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself this question: how long does a furnace last before it needs replacing? Or do you just worry about the annual HVAC maintenance and forget that even that heating system will one day require replacement?
While many homeowners are unaware of their furnace’s age or when they should plan for a replacement, this information is crucial. This way, you are always sure that your home is ready for winter.
So, how long does it take to replace a furnace?
Average Furnace Lifespan
Generally, there is no precise answer on how long your furnace will last or when to replace it. This is because different furnace models will have varying lifespans, and so many other factors will also affect a furnace’s life expectancy, even for similar models.
However, this doesn’t mean you stay in the dark, waiting for the day that it all breaks down. We will look at the average furnace lifespan, signs that show your furnace is aging and needs replacement, as well as what you can do to delay the inevitable.
Normally, most gas furnaces have an average lifespan of between 15 and 30 years. This is as long as you conduct yearly furnace maintenance to keep it in shape. However, there are a few exceptions where a furnace can last up to 40 years, although extremely rare.
Factors Determining Furnace Life Expectancy
As we mentioned earlier, various factors determine a furnace’s life expectancy. Here are the most common ones:
1. Furnace Make and Model
Generally, newer furnace models tend to have a longer life expectancy than older ones. Also, the make of a certain furnace determines how long it will serve you. This means that you should not only invest in a newer model but also in a high-quality one to ensure longevity.
You might want to go with the trusted brands instead of the cheaper not-so-popular ones.
2. Usage and Maintenance of Your Furnace
How often do you use your furnace? If you live in colder regions where the furnace is mostly on, your furnace might have a shorter lifespan than a person living in warmer areas. High frequency of use will translate to a shorter lifespan due to increased wear.
Also, maintenance plays a major role in how long your furnace lasts. If you schedule yearly maintenance from a qualified HVAC technician, you are sure that your furnace is taken care of. This is because the technician can detect any issues on the system and rectify them before causing greater damage.
3. Moisture and Ventilation
High moisture levels and poor ventilation works against the longevity of your furnace. For instance, too much moisture will cause the heater components to rust, making them break down prematurely. The heat exchanger is the most affected by moisture.
Poor ventilation also means poor airflow to the furnace, which will also affect its operations. Therefore, make sure your house is well ventilated.
4. Furnace Installation
Improper installation is a major factor that largely reduces your furnace’s lifespan. Energy Star indicates that more than half of new furnace installations are not done correctly.
With improper installations, your furnace efficiency reduces by around 30%. This will make the furnace overwork to compensate for the lost efficiency, leading to heating problems and premature breakdowns.
For this reason, ensure that your furnace is correctly installed to avoid these losses. Proper installation will have a great positive impact on the system’s efficiency and lifespan.
When Should I Replace my Furnace?
As we’ve seen above, there’s no definite way of telling how long your furnace will last. Each of these factors has a role in determining the lifespan of your furnace.
However, numerous signs can help you know when it’s time to make that replacement. These include:
1. A Furnace is 15 to 30 Years Old
The older the furnace, the more likely it is nearing the end of its useful service life. Even with proper maintenance, age will eventually catch up, and you’ll have to replace the entire system.
So, if you’ve used your furnace for this long, it’s time to start preparing for that replacement. It might be needed any time.
2. Increasing Energy Bills
When you notice your heating bills start going up, it might be a sign of an aging furnace. This is especially if it’s more than 15 years old.
Higher heating bills show that the furnace is overworking to heat your home, something it was doing efficiently before. If this happens, start thinking of your next course of action — replacement.
3. More Frequent and Costly Repairs
Occasional minor repairs and scheduled furnace maintenance are normal for a healthy heating system. However, when these repairs become too frequent, you might want to ask yourself why.
Generally, as your unit gets older, so do all its parts and components. Meaning, you’ll be having some parts break down quite often.
This increases your repair costs, especially if these are major repairs. In this case, it might be prudent to think about replacing the furnace.
Furnace Flames Turns Yellow from Blue
How long should a gas furnace last? Well, if the flames in your furnace become yellow instead of blue, then the end may be near.
New and efficient furnaces always produce a blue flame. If the flames turn yellow, it means that the furnace is generating more CO (carbon monoxide) gas. And, this is a clear indication of a serious problem and a possible call for furnace replacement.
However, the yellow flames might also result from a gas leak, which is also quite dangerous. For this reason, immediately you notice this, call for an expert HVAC technician to assess the problem. At Anderson Air, we offer the best heating services, and you can always reach us at (479) 777-9680.