Many homeowners throughout the Grand Rapids area have asked us, “When should I replace my furnace?” While furnaces do have an expected service life, how long they last depends on multiple factors. The heating pros at A-1 Mechanical share some advice to help you determine when it’s time for furnace replacement, and the signs to watch for.
How Long Does a Furnace Last?
The average expected service life of furnaces is as follows:
- Gas Furnace: 15 to 20 years
- Electric Furnace: 20 to 30 years
Electric furnaces tend to last longer than gas models as they are often more durable than their gas counterparts and require less maintenance. But, their lifespan alone isn’t the selling point that determines all. While electric furnaces are often cheaper to install, they are more expensive to operate in many areas of the country due to the difference in utility prices between natural gas and electricity. While gas furnaces are more expensive to buy, they provide reliable, fast heat which homeowners enjoy.
When Is the Best Time to Replace My Furnace?
When asking, “When should I replace my furnace?”, the average furnace lifespan is definitely not the only factor to consider. Furnaces are able to last beyond this range, or breakdown well before it – whether or not your furnace lasts as long as you expect typically depends on how you’ve cared for it over the years.
A well-maintained furnace that receives annual preventive maintenance often lasts to the upper end or beyond its expected service life. This is because the damaging effects of wear and tear as well as other system issues are corrected during maintenance service, limiting the likelihood of further damage during heating season. If your furnace has never received maintenance, it could very well break down before it reaches this range and you may need to replace it before you arrive at this point.
If your furnace is nearing, within, or beyond the range of its expected service life, it’s time to start investigating your options for replacement. This not only helps you avoid comfort disruptions caused by sudden system failures, but allows you to take advantage of the new technology today’s furnaces offer.
Newer furnaces offer better energy efficiency than older models. Efficiency standards have been raised over the years, and new HVAC technology has contributed to the manufacture of extremely efficient heating equipment. Older model furnaces simply weren’t built up to today’s standards, plus this equipment loses efficiency over time. Replacing an older furnace with a new high efficiency model, even if your existing unit is still working, can provide a boost in efficiency significant enough to greatly cut your energy bills and pay for the unit over a period of time in savings.
Warning Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Furnace
Furnace installation service also depends on recognizing the warning signs of an impending system failure. Some or all of the following symptoms are experienced when a furnace is reaching its last few years:
- Higher energy bills: Remember above where we mentioned that furnaces lose efficiency over time? This directly contributes to higher energy bills. If your winter utility bills have gone up without other explanation, your furnace is a likely cause. Energy savings through replacement often allows your new furnace to pay for itself!
- Poor comfort control: Uneven temperatures, not enough heat, cold spots in the home, and other issues are all signs of a failing furnace. Sometimes the issues are repairable, but when combined with the other factors, replacement may be the best solution.
- More frequent repairs: Furnaces experience more breakdowns and service needs in their last two years of life. If we’ve been out to repair your furnace more frequently over the past few heating seasons, this is a sign of a furnace at the end of its life.
- Expensive repairs: Depending on the issue at hand, furnace repairs can run into the thousands of dollars. When you have expensive repair needs like this, you need to consider all other factors to decide if replacement is a better solution. In general, if a repair costs half the price of a new furnace, it is better for you to upgrade.
Furnace Replacement with A-1 Mechanical
Don’t be left in the cold without an answer to when should I replace my furnace! A-1 Mechanical is here to help. From furnace inspection to heating system replacement, we are ready to maximize comfort in your Grand Rapids area home. Contact us today to get started!