The Life of a Furnace – How Long Will It Last?

October 31, 2013
Ross and Witmer

There are a number of things that can affect how long a furnace life is. The life span of most furnaces is 15 to 30 years, but how long one lasts depends on a number of factors, including its design and construction, how much use it got and how well it’s maintained.

If your furnace is getting up there in age, you may want to think about replacing it. The energy efficiency of furnaces has improved significantly in recent years, so replacing your old furnace now can help you save money by avoiding the higher energy bills it would create this winter. Replacing your furnace now rather than later can also help you avoid the inconvenience of being left without heat when your old furnace unexpectedly breaks down.

Another reason to replace older furnaces is that they’re more likely to be oversized. This can contribute to inefficiency and other problems. Though modern furnaces can also be oversized, experienced HVAC technicians and homeowners alike now understand the importance of first tackling load calculations to deter the size needed to keep a home comfortable. Each home has its own unique characteristics and each family its own comfort needs, and load calculations bridge that gap.

If you’re experiencing furnace problems that have you considering replacement, it’s best to enlist the help of a qualified HVAC professional. However, if you think there’s still furnace life available, there are a few furnace troubleshooting steps you or a professional can tackle first:

  • Check that the thermostat is on and correctly set.
  • Replace dirty air filters.
  • Check for tripped breakers or blown fuses.
  • If it has a standing pilot light, make sure it’s lit.
  • Clean and lubricate the blower.
  • Make sure there’s a quality seal between the ductwork and the furnace.
  • Clear dirt, soot and corrosion off the furnace.
  • Check that the flames are blue. Yellow or orange flames indicate incomplete combustion and that the burner needs to be adjusted.

If you need help troubleshooting a furnace problem or want a professional opinion about remaining furnace life of your unit, contact the experts at Ross and Witmer. We’ve been providing heating and cooling expertise to Charlotte area homeowners since 1945.

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