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When homeowners invest in their properties, they expect a considerable return in the end, which makes complete sense. It’s pointless installing an HVAC system that will last you two or three years at best before replacing the system. As a reputable HVAC contractor, the one question that we hear the majority of Americans ask is, ‘how long does a furnace last?’. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question as furnaces aren’t manufactured equally, using the same materials and craftsmanship. However, a general answer can put your mind at ease, bearing in mind that you treat the equipment well.


What’s the Lifespan of a Furnace?


It depends on the type. Usually, gas furnaces last around 15 years if you properly maintain them and ensure that a professional services the system regularly. Alternatively, because of the lack of serious pipework and potential gas leaks, electric furnaces do last longer. By following a proper maintenance schedule, these furnaces can perform optimally for around 25 to 30 years.


Signs That it’s Time to Replace the Furnace


If your furnace has served you for over 15 years, it’s time to start looking for a new option – whether it’s gas or electric. We say this because, in that time, there have been remarkable advances in technology resulting in more efficient systems available today.


If you hear loud noises during the furnace operation, it may be time to repair or replace the old system. These are some of the noises you may hear and what they mean:


  • Popping: Fluctuations in temperature in the furnace can cause this sound because certain parts react to the change in temperature.


  • Rattling: Sometimes, ducts become loose or other components within the system, leading to a rattle. It may be time to consider replacement in this case.


  • Screeching: A loud screech indicates that the furnace’s blower motor has undergone severe damage. There may also be other causes for this sound, such as a damaged belt or pulley.


  • Humming: Usually, this occurs during regular use and stems from the furnace blower motor. However, if you find that the noise becomes louder, it’s best to speak to an HVAC contractor about new furnace options.


When you’re experiencing major fluctuations in the temperature inside your home, it’s time to start researching new furnaces. Bear in mind that when your furnace passes 15 years, its efficiency and performance will be negatively affected, answering your question of ‘how long does a furnace last?‘.


If you discover that soot is lingering around your home and in certain rooms, it points to an issue with the furnace. This sign translates to your furnace producing too much carbon monoxide, which can cause damage within a home. Additionally, any soot found on the registers must be taken seriously, and you need to consider replacing the furnace.


With age, it becomes difficult for the furnace to equally distribute the air throughout the house. It may lead to a huge rise in your energy bill. If you’re still thinking about installing a new furnace or to simply repair it, consider the cost of the repair. Repairs costs that exceed half the price of a new furnace suggest that it’s time to move on to something new entirely.


Factors That Reduce Furnace Life Expectancy


Now that you’re aware of the signs to look out for, these are the factors that lead to a reduced life expectancy:


Furnace size is a significant point that you must get right. The furnace must be appropriately sized for your home, or it will result in shorter cycles that impact wear and tear. Larger systems will cycle on and off too quickly, causing damage to the internal parts. Likewise, smaller systems will have to work harder to warm your house, leading to frequent breakdowns.


Poor installation can affect the lifespan of your furnace, which is why it’s necessary to consult with an HVAC contractor with the relevant skills and knowledge. Little mistakes in the installation process will affect your comfort levels and system efficiency, eventually wearing down the internal parts.


Lack of maintenance is probably the most common cause of reduced furnace lifespan. Homeowners pay little attention to their HVAC systems until it’s too late. For this reason, it’s advisable to have an HVAC technician in your phone book to call for regular maintenance.


Extending the Lifespan of the Furnace


You can do two things to extend the lifespan of your furnace – have your local HVAC contractor service the furnace as per the manufacturer’s recommendations and replace the air filter accordingly.


Even though you now know how long does a furnace last, you also know that it depends on how seriously you take its maintenance. Ultimately, you can receive a decent return on your investment by adhering to the manufacturer’s and HVAC technician’s instructions.