9700 Gas Furnace

How long should my furnace last until it needs replacing?

Q: How long should my furnace last until it needs replacing?

A: Like every other appliance in your home furnaces are victims of planned obsolescence.  Appliances are not designed to last in todays world. Refrigerators only last 6-7 years now and furnaces are not designed to last much beyond 18 years.  The 3 factors driving this have been the governments insistence on higher and higher efficiency, also the number of safety sensors built into these units have doubled in the last 2 decades, and finally manufacturers have been under enormous pressure to cut costs to stay competitive in todays throw away economy.

We look at the age of the furnace, cost of parts, efficiency of unit, and timeframe when determining whether to recommend a repair vs replacing a furnace.  The age of the furnace and cost of parts carry the most weight.  Putting a $700 heat exchanger into an 18 year furnace doesn’t make sense when there is a strong likelihood of further repairs around the corner that will add up.  Also when working on an 80% efficient furnace there are robust savings in energy usage with a new furnace that need to be considered.  Older furnace parts aren’t produced or stocked in abundance and can sometimes create a lead time that doesn’t benefit a family who is without heat.  We strive to offer our customers a fair assessment and evaluation when recommending a replacement.

Consistent maintenance will stretch the lifespan of a furnace.  Regular filter changes are crucial!  For every inch in width your filter is, is the equivalent of months you should go between changes.  Many 1” filters purchased from hardware stores say up to 3 months.  That UP TO generally factors in Spring and Fall seasons with low run times.  A 1” filter should be changed monthly.

Chad Baumann
Sales & Marketing Manager
Residential comfort expert. Recognized nationally as a top 40 under 40 in the HVAC industry. 10 years of experience in the HVAC field.