This is one of the questions we receive the most from customers. It’s an understandable one. Homeowners don’t want to replace a furnace unless they have to, and they want to know how much life they can expect from their current one. People also ask this question if they have an old furnace that isn’t getting the job done the way it used to. In this case, what they’re really asking isn’t “How long should my furnace last?” but “Is it time to replace my furnace?”
No two homes have the same situation when it comes to furnaces, and there are different types of furnaces. There isn’t a single answer to this question, but if you have concerns about your furnace in Bellevue, WA, schedule an appointment with one of our technicians, and they can see if your furnace is at retirement age or if furnace repairs can keep it going.
Factors to Consider with Furnace Longevity
The first consideration is the type of furnace in your home. Furnaces can run from a wide range of energy sources, but today most are either electric or natural gas-powered. There is a difference in how long the two types last. Electric furnaces do not suffer from the aging effects that natural gas combustion places on gas furnaces, and can usually last a few years longer. On average, a gas furnace should last 15 years, maybe 20. Add 3 to 4 years onto that for an electric furnace. (A quick note here that this doesn’t mean electric furnace are better bargains. They cost more to run than gas furnaces.)
The second factor is how often the furnace is given professional maintenance. Every HVAC technicians recommends customers have HVAC maintenance done every fall. (The warranty for the unit may require annual inspections and tune-ups.) Maintenance done this frequently removes the effects of aging and strain on the system, helping it to achieve the longest possible service life. Missing any of these appointments allows a full winter of stress to be placed on the system—and you may end up replacing the system five years or more earlier.
The third factor is how the furnace is used. We can’t control the weather here in Washington, so furnace use should be similar for most homes. (Poor insulation will require running the furnace more often.) You can help the furnace run less often by judicious use of the thermostat, keeping it around 68°F during the day, and wearing warmer clothing.
A Furnace on Its Last Lap
If you have serious concerns about your furnace’s future—i.e. you’re afraid it’s not going to make it through the next winter, or even the end of this one—then a replacement is probably the best choice. Higher utility bills, odd noises from the furnace, and cold spots in the house are warning signs for a furnace that’s 15 years or older. Call for the HVAC pros and let them give you an honest answer about the best way to move forward with home heating.
S&L Mechanical Heating and Cooling offers 24-hour emergency service to Bellevue, WA and the surrounding areas.