Just how long does a furnace last? Gas furnaces are essential in many parts of the country where it can get very cold. In fact, they are a feature of most homes in areas like this. That being said, do you know how old your furnace is? Do you have any idea how long it will last or when you should replace it or have it serviced by a qualified technician?
Average Life Expectancy Of A Furnace
The fact is that the life of every furnace will depend on a range of factors, but in general, most gas furnaces will last anywhere between 15 and 30 years. In fact, some furnaces have been known to last for 40 years, but that’s pretty rare.
If you have your furnace serviced regularly and you take care of it, it’s certainly more likely to last longer. This is especially true if the model of the furnace is a well-made brand. Of course, it’s also a good thing to know when you need to call out a technician to assess your furnace.
Signs That Your Furnace Needs Some Care and Maintenance
Keeping your furnace in good condition is important, which is why it’s important to understand when you should call out a qualified technician. Here are some of the most common signs that you need to be aware of:
- The Age of Your Furnace
Even though the average life of a gas furnace is between 15 and 30 years, it has to be said that 30 years is going to be on the very outside of that range. If you’ve just moved into a home, for example, it’s a good idea to determine the age of your furnace. If it has a pilot light, it’s sure to be quite old, and it may be at least 25 years old. If this is the case, it’s probably going to have some issues and will likely be close to the end of its operational life.
Of course, age isn’t everything, but it’s a good indicator of how many issues a furnace might have. As furnaces age, they will naturally develop some problems, so it’s a good idea to use the age of the furnace as a guide to when you might need to service or replace it.
- Increased Utility Bills
This can be a tough one to determine, but if you do notice that your gas or electrical prices suddenly spike and there seems to be no other reason for it, it might be that your furnace just isn’t operating correctly. In fact, rising prices related to the furnace are a common sign that something isn’t quite right and that it at least needs a service from a technician.
- How Much Are You Paying for Repairs?
As furnaces get older, they tend to break down more often due to increasing issues. In fact, gas furnaces also break down more often when their operating life is almost done. If you’ve been paying more than you should for furnace repairs over the past few years, there’s a good chance that your furnace needs replacing.
The other issue is that older furnace models are harder to get replacement parts for. As furnace technology improves and makes and models change every year, older parts become obsolete. This can also make them more expensive, so it’s probably going to be more cost effective to invest in a new furnace rather than keep the old one going.
- Room Temperatures Are Inconsistent
Every furnace has a thermostat that can be set so that the home gets to a certain temperature. If you’re finding that your furnace is taking a long time to heat up a room, or that different rooms seem to have vastly different ambient temperatures, it could be a sign that the thermostat isn’t working properly and needs to be fixed or replaced. At the very least, you should expect your furnace to do the job of heating your home up, and the last thing you want to deal with is a cold home on a cold and wintry night.
- You Have Flu-Like Symptoms
A gas leak can be very serious indeed. Some old furnaces might have cracks in the heat exchanger component that allows carbon monoxide to leak inside the room. You and your family might be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning if the following symptoms are persistent when the furnace is operating:
- Headaches and migraines,
- Burning nose or eyes,
- Dizziness or disorientation,
Carbon monoxide poisoning is very serious, and if the leak is bad enough and enough of the gas leaks into the home, it can be fatal. If you suspect that your gas furnace is leaking, a technician needs to be called right away because it’s an emergency situation. This is also another good reason that regular servicing and maintenance should be done every year on a gas furnace so that issues like this can be found early.
There are also other signs of a gas leak, including soot around the furnace, a yellow flame instead of a blue flame, rusting on the flue and other pipes, and water that leaks from the vent, pipes, or flue.
- There Are Strange Noises
Every furnace makes noises, but if you find that there are some strange noises happening, like pops, bangs, and rattles, there’s probably something wrong with it. In some cases, it could be a loose screw, but strange noises are usually a sure sign that your furnace is getting old and not working as well as it should be.
Conclusion – Do You Need a New Furnace?
Gas furnaces are quite long-lasting if they are serviced properly each year. Of course, every furnace will develop problems over the course of its operational life, and it’s a good idea to look out for the signs of a possible issue.
If your furnace is old, is making excessive noise, has leaks, or is simply not working properly and is costing you money in utility bills, it’s always best to call out a technician to assess it.