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What Is the Life Span of a Furnace?

Have you been limping an aging heating system along for a couple of heating seasons and racking up high heating bills? The average furnace life span is approximately 15 years, though it can range from 13 to 20 years. While the equipment may last that long, it’s likely that your heating bills are higher than they need to be, since furnaces lose efficiency as they age.

The current annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) minimum stands at 80 percent for combustion furnaces, which means that it wastes 20 percent of the fuel it uses. Systems are currently available that have AFUE ratings approaching 99 percent, and these use nearly all the heat from the fuel they burn for home heating.

Besides raising your heating bills, running an aging furnace beyond the intended furnace life span can cost you more than just money. An aging gas furnace can develop cracks in the heat exchanger. The cracks may be large enough to emit carbon monoxide (CO) into your home, and if an HVAC technician or the gas provider’s representative finds them, he or she will have to disable your furnace, also known as red-tagging. These repairs are seldom cost-effective options, since a lot of labor is involved.

Other problems that can develop with an aging furnace include dirty pilot lights, bad thermocouples and dirty burners. The money you spend on labor to troubleshoot furnace problems and the replacement parts can mount. If you’re nursing along a furnace that requires frequent repairs, you might be better off investing in newer, high-efficiency equipment that will lower your winter heating bills.

Consulting with an HVAC contractor is the best course of action to take if you suspect that your furnace has reached the end of its life. These experts can walk you through the process, which involves a complete home evaluation and selecting the right kind of system for your home and budget.

To learn more about the furnace life span and where yours is on that timeline, contact Meyer’s. We provide HVAC services in and around the Indiana communities of Griffith, Munster, Highland, St. John, Schererville and Gary.