When Is The Best Time To Consider Furnace Replacement?

As a homeowner, it can be difficult deciding on whether you should schedule yet another repair for your home’s moody furnace, or finally concede and start looking at the latest and greatest models on the market.

So, when is the best time to start considering furnace replacement?

There really is no simple answer to this question, but there are certain factors that are common in any situation.

Here’s what you should know about how to tell when is the best time to replace a furnace.

Planned vs Unplanned

Instead of asking when is the best time to replace, perhaps the question should be; which is better — a planned or unplanned replacement?

Imagine the reduced stress and discomfort for you and your family when you choose a planned furnace replacement.

No longer will you have to worry about your aging furnace all day, and wonder when the day will come when you return home to a freezing house and a furnace that refuses to work— especially in the middle of winter!

furnace installation contractor holding clipboard

Warning Signs of Furnace Replacement

There are a number of tell-tale signs that your furnace will start to exhibit as your heating system begins nearing the end of its lifespan.

Of course, you wouldn’t want to incur such an expense of replacing your furnace if it’s not called for—so your timing is really everything.

Here are some of the most common signs you can look for to help you know when is the best time to replace a furnace.

1. Advanced Age

If your system has had proper maintenance and care over the years, your system should last anywhere from 12-15 years. If maintenance has been poor, or absent altogether, the lifespan could be significantly reduced. If your system is in its later years, it may be time to consider furnace replacement.

2. Unexplained Spike in Heating Costs

Regardless of the type of fuel you use for heating, loss of system efficiency can significantly increase your utility costs. Other extenuating factors can also include a drafty home and colder-than-usual seasons, so it’s important to look for other correlating warning signs.

3. Yellow or Flickering Flame

A furnace flame is supposed to burn a bright blue color. If your flame has a yellowed hue or tint or seems to continuously flicker, this could be a sign of bigger troubles ahead. A problematic flame could indicate a number of things including the incomplete burning of fuel or clogged burner valve.

This issue could also indicate your system is generating more carbon monoxide than normal and could be leaking into your home.

home furnace

4. Unusual Sounds & Strange Noises

In general, your furnace should operate without strange or abnormal sounds. If you hear rattles, bangs, squeaks, pops, or hissing— it may be time to consult with a professional to determine if furnace replacement is right for you and your home.

5. Constant System Cycling

Most furnaces are designed to maintain temperatures by cycling on and off periodically. If your system seems to be struggling to stay on or is constantly cycling on and off—furnace replacement could be necessary.

6 Frequent Calls for Repairs

Generally speaking, your furnace should perform reliably and consistently without needing frequent repairs. A well-maintained system should only need a minor repair every couple of years or so. If you’re frequently calling for repairs, perhaps furnace replacement is a more financially sound option.

The Best Time to Replace Your Furnace

Here’s the bottom line: The best time to replace a furnace is before you experience a catastrophic and seriously inconvenient, uncomfortable breakdown.

Professional services and preventative maintenance can help you lengthen the lifespan of your system as your technician keeps a diligent and watchful eye for any furnace replacement warning signs.


Posted on Categories Heating

How Long Will My Furnace Last?

Perhaps you’re buying a new furnace or just noticed that the one you bought two or three years ago has stopped putting out heat. So, you’re wondering how much longer the furnace will last before you’re required to buy a replacement.

First off, there is no need for panic.

Although the most recent generation of furnaces is a lot more fragile compared to the ones of the 50s and earlier, any typical furnace will still last many years.

cold indoorsWhat’s more, if a relatively new furnace is damaged or stops giving out heat, it can be repaired or replaced by the manufacturer as long as the warranty period has not lapsed. And, even after the warranty period passes, you can still call in an HVAC professional to diagnose and fix the appliance.

That said, however, furnaces eventually wear out and at some point need to be replaced. There are two main factors that influence how soon you’ll be replacing the appliance:

Law of Averages

A furnace is designed to last a predetermined number of years when operated under optimal conditions. This average life expectancy typically lies between 10-30 years.

If you’ve used yours for 20 years, for instance, you might start to notice frequent breakdowns and should expect that the appliance could be nearing its end.

Just like our bones become weaker with age, the electrical, heating, and ventilation components of a furnace wear with age. By 20 years, some of the components might become so weak that they need repairs every few weeks. At that point, it might make more sense to just replace the appliance.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should buy a new furnace as soon as the old one hits 20 or 30 years. Simply be prepared. Some furnaces last well over 40 years…and some even 50!

Although some appliances may deteriorate quickly once they get past the 10th year.

furnace installation contractor

Old vs New Generation Furnaces

The longevity of your furnace also depends on the type you use – specifically when it was built.

Older furnaces were built primarily for warming the house, with little regard given to efficiency. As long as the appliance was giving out enough heat to warm all the rooms, it was good enough.

Then, in the 70s, the government introduced regulations demanding that manufacturers prioritize efficiency. Consumers, becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, also began shifting to more energy efficient furnaces. This led to a range of design changes in the furnace, chief among them the thinning of the furnace walls that pushed efficiency from around 50 to 70%.

furnace flameThe same thinking, however, also made the furnace a lot weaker. Couple that with the introduction of multiple efficiency-boosting components such as fans and you have furnaces that are very prone to breakdowns.

In short, if yours is a new-generation furnace, don’t expect it to last as long as the older-generation furnaces. Most manufacturers actually say that their high-efficiency new-generation furnaces last between 12 and 15 years.

Good news – it’s easy to extend the life of your furnace!

You can stretch the life of your furnace beyond those 12 or 20 years with regular maintenance.

At least once a year, preferably before the onset of the cold season, bring in an HVAC pro to thoroughly inspect the appliance.

Among other things, the technician should test and service the electronics, ignition, heating, heat distribution, and venting components. Your furnace will last way longer!


Posted on Categories Heating