How long does a furnace last? The answer depends on a number of factors, but most furnaces will work reliably for about 15 to 20 years. With proper maintenance, some can last as long as 30 years. But eventually, no matter how well you care for it, your furnace will reach the end of its lifespan and you’ll need to replace it.
Knowing when it’s time for a furnace replacement can be tough. Fortunately, there are some indications that might suggest you should start thinking about getting a new furnace.
Signs It Is Time to Replace Your Furnace
One thing that might make you wonder if it’s time for a new furnace is if your current one breaks down. But replacement shouldn’t necessarily be your first move. If your furnace is only a few years old and this is the first time it’s had a problem, repairing your furnace is probably a better choice. But if it’s older and isn’t running as well as it could, then watch for some of these signs that repair is no longer the right call:
Your Furnace Is More than 15 Years Old
Your furnace is probably not going to stop working on the day it turns 15. But in our experience, that is around the time when furnaces start having more problems. Parts start to wear out, energy-efficiency features become less effective, and furnaces that have operated flawlessly in the past start to need more maintenance and servicing to keep them going.
For these reasons, we recommend you start thinking about a new furnace when your existing one is about 15 years old — even if you don’t actually need one yet. Starting early gives you the time to think about the type and size of furnace you want, and to budget accordingly.
Your Home’s Temperature Is Uneven
If you notice significant temperature differences between rooms as you move around your home, that’s an indication that your furnace may be losing its ability to properly circulate heat. Start by checking to make sure you don’t have any leaks in your ducts. If there are no leaks, it might be time for a furnace replacement.
Your Furnace Is Noisy or Produces Soot
Furnaces move a lot of air, so it’s common for them to make some noise. But popping, rattling, screeching, clicking booming, or any other sound that’s either unfamiliar or unusually loud are all signs that something is not working properly.
Furnaces that are losing efficiency may also start to produce excessive carbon dioxide that shows up as traces of soot around your air registers. This is bad for everyone in your home — and is a very clear sign that you need a new furnace.
Your Energy Bills Are High
As your furnace loses efficiency, it has to work harder to heat your home, which can lead to higher energy costs. If you start to see consistently higher bills, it might be time for a new furnace.
Your Furnace Needs Frequent Repair
An occasional furnace repair is to be expected. Parts can get clogged or damaged by debris, and others can wear out from time to time. But as repairs get more frequent and more expensive, replacing your furnace starts to make much better financial sense.
Furnace Replacement Considerations
If you’ve decided to replace your furnace, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on your new furnace:
Furnace Replacement Cost
Buying a new furnace is a substantial investment, but the good news is that any new furnace you install in your home is likely to be considerably more energy-efficient than the one you’re replacing. (Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations now require a minimum of 90% efficiency for all new furnaces.) That means your heating bills are likely to be lower throughout the equipment’s lifespan, which can help offset the initial installation cost.
Another option is to rent your furnace. With Enercare Advantage™, you can get a brand-new, highly efficient furnace installed with no upfront cost1, and have your maintenance and repair needs taken care of for the life of the furnace.
Furnace Replacement Installation
Before you install a new furnace, be sure to give some thought to where it will be located in your home. Installing it in the same place where your old furnace was makes sense, but if you’re switching from an electric furnace to a gas furnace, for instance, the old spot might not allow for proper venting. Also, if you’ve built any additions to your home or want to extend heating to formerly unheated rooms, like a garage, now is also a good time to install any additional ductwork you might need.
Should I Replace the Rest of My HVAC Equipment?
If you’ve decided to replace your furnace, consider replacing your air conditioner as well. If it’s of a similar age as your furnace or is experiencing similar issues, it might be worthwhile to replace them both and save yourself the disruption of a second replacement later.
While replacing your heating and cooling systems at once will add to the total cost, a new, more efficient air conditioner will bring similar benefits as a new furnace, and there are also AC rental options to save on the upfront costs.
Let’s Talk About Your Furnace
To stay warm all year long, you need a furnace that’s working at its best. Regular furnace maintenance and servicing will keep it running for as long as possible, but when it starts showing signs of age, it’s time to think about replacement. If you’re considering a new furnace, give us a call or fill out the following form. We’ll assess your current equipment, determine your needs and recommend the right heating solution for your home.
1Certain exceptions apply. See rental agreement for details
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