How Long Does a Furnace Last and When Do You Need to Replace It?

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how long does a furnace last

We rarely think about our homes’ furnaces until they stop working correctly. And unfortunately, we don’t usually notice that our furnace isn’t operating until it’s too late. It seems that furnaces like to give out on the exact day when temperatures drop, and suddenly you’re left with a freezing cold home that won’t warm up. But how long does a furnace last anyways – and how can you predict that yours is about to give out?

Most home furnaces operate off of a natural gas source, which heats up the air inside and pushes it into your home with a strong fan. Overall, about half of homes in America run off of natural gas, while about one-third use electric furnaces.

While this piece of machinery is not overly complicated, the parts and pieces will eventually stop working. In some cases, you will just need to replace a few parts here and there. But there will come a time when a full replacement is necessary.

So, just how long does a furnace last in the average home? And is it time to replace yours?

1. How Long Does a Furnace Typically Last?

average furnace lifespan


It is nearly impossible to place an exact expiration date for the life of a furnace. Various factors can impact the longevity of this appliance. For instance, if you live in a colder area and run your furnace more often, it will likely wear out faster than one in a home where it is used less frequently.

Other factors can impact how long your furnace will run. If the system is turning on and off constantly, it may create more wear and tear on the mechanical parts. Or furnace systems that are too small for the size of the house will also wear out, as they will need to run constantly to maintain temperature control.

Of course, the initial installation quality affects how long a furnace will operate correctly. If the ductwork is poorly sealed, the fuel lines are incorrectly installed, or the drainage system is blocked, it will decrease the furnace’s lifespan.

But overall, a well-maintained furnace should last the homeowner between 15 to 20 years. Electric furnaces tend to last a bit longer, in some cases up to 30 years. The keyword here is “well-maintained” – most likely, your furnace will need repairs and part replacements over this time.

But if your furnace starts acting up around the 15 to 20-year mark, the chances are that it’s time to start looking for a new one.

2. How Will I Know if it’s Time to Replace My Furnace?

when to replace furnace


The good news is that you don’t need to wait until that dreadful cold morning to realize your furnace needs to be replaced. Apart from the age of your furnace, there are signs to be on the lookout for, which indicate that it may be time for a replacement.

Loud, Unusual Noises

Perhaps the most common indication of an issue with your furnace is sudden unusual noises that occur while it is running. These may sound like popping, rattling, screeching, or even a loud booming or clicking. These are all indicators of serious operational issues. In some cases, an HVAC repair service might be able to address the issue. But more likely than not, these sounds mean that your furnace is on the decline.

Trouble Keeping Consistent Temperature

Another sign is if you have trouble keeping a consistent temperature or different rooms are hotter or colder than others. This is a sign that your furnace is running less efficiently and cannot keep up with your desired temperature controls. This could be eating up your fuel, too, skyrocketing your heating costs.

Yellow Flames Inside the Furnace

If you have a furnace that runs on gas, you will be able to see the flames burning inside. These typically burn blue, which indicates a high heat output. However, if the flames are yellow, it’s a sign that your furnace is producing too much carbon monoxide. This is extremely dangerous, and you should shut off your furnace and call your HVAC service right away.

Energy Bills and Repair Costs Exceed Cost of Replacement

As furnaces get older, their efficiency tanks. They will end up burning way more fuel to put out the same amount of heat, which results in higher energy bills. While replacing parts here and there may improve efficiency temporarily, you should weigh the cost of your bills compared to a full replacement.

Here’s a helpful tip to make this calculation: multiply the cost of the necessary repair by the age of your furnace. If the total is under 5,000, then go ahead and make the repair. But if it is more, it would make more financial sense just to replace the entire system.

3. What You Need to Know About Replacing Your Furnace

about replacing your furnace


The most important thing to do when replacing a furnace is to get a trusted HVAC replacement service. You want to work with a company that will help you find the most energy-efficient option for your home.

First, you’ll need to decide which type of furnace or HVAC unit to install: natural gas, oil, or electric. Each of these types has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Natural gas is by far the most common and typically puts out the highest amount of heat, but it is not the most energy-efficient option. Oil furnaces are far less common due to the high cost of oil these days. Electric furnaces are becoming increasingly more common as an environmentally friendly option, but these will not output as much heat as oil and gas.

You’ll also need to determine if you need a high-efficiency furnace, split or mini-split system, ductless system, or package units. The right type of furnace and HVAC system depends on a lot of factors, like the size of your home and your budget. So, you need to hire a service that offers fair consultation services to see which system is going to be the right solution.

Is it Time to Replace Your Furnace?

Has your furnace been giving your trouble? Have you experienced some of the signs that it’s time for a replacement? Then your next move should be to contact an HVAC repair and replacement service to evaluate the situation.

If you’re in the Santa Cruz, CA area, don’t hesitate to reach out to Bogner Sheet Metal Heating & Air Conditioning. We will send out one of our Comfort Specialists to inspect your furnace or HVAC and recommend the necessary repairs or replacements.

You can also rest assured that your furnace replacement is in good hands with Bogner Sheet Metal. We offer a 100% money-back guarantee with our one-year warranty. You can also schedule annual tune-ups and maintenance through us to improve the efficiency of your system for years to come.

To learn more or set up a visit from our Comfort Specialists today, give us a call at 831-423-4322 or contact us online!

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