How Long Does a Furnace Last

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Knowing when to replace a furnace versus simply repairing it is a common dilemma many homeowners across the province and country face as their furnace ages. A furnace is a sizable investment, so holding on to one for as long as possible may seem like a good idea, but it isn’t. The truth is that there comes a point when repairing a furnace would simply be a waste of money.

There are a number of factors that should go into the decision on whether your furnace is worth keeping or if it has served its time and should be replaced. These factors include how old your furnace is, how often it needs repairs and whether you notice a decrease in its performance.

Some good indicators that an old furnace needs to be replaced are:

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Loud Noises During Standard Operation

Weird noises coming from your furnace usually means that your furnace is in trouble. We’ve put together a list of sounds and what they may be communicating to you about your furnace.

  • Popping – this could mean that the temperature inside your furnace is inconsistent and the parts within your furnace that are sensitive to temperature change are producing this sound.
  • Rattling – this typically happens when there are loose parts that need to be retightened or replaced if broken.
  • Screeching – this typically means that the furnace blower motor is damaged. It could also indicate that a belt or the pulley is damaged.
  • Humming – it is normal for your furnace to produce a humming sound, which is caused by the furnace blower motor. However, if that noise becomes louder, it could mean that it’s time for a new furnace.
  • Clicking – this means that your flame sensor or igniter needs to be repaired. Fortunately, this is simple to fix.

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Furnace Age is Between 15 to 30 Years

Your furnace is designed to last a long time. On average, a furnace lifetime expectancy is anywhere between 15 to 30 years. One way you can get the most out of your furnace is to have a certified technician perform routine maintenance on your furnace annually. But once it’s been 15 years since the furnace was installed, it’s a good time to begin planning for a replacement, especially if your furnace is frequently needing repair.

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Temperature Differences Throughout the House

When your furnace is working well, it will regulate the temperature in your home and keep it consistent from room to room. If you notice a variation in temperature in different areas of your home, it means that your furnace is no longer performing optimally and needs to be replaced.

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Soot Build Up

Have you noticed a layer of soot or dust on surfaces in your home? This could be in your kitchen, living room, bathroom or anywhere else and is often the result of dry air in your home. Soot and dust can cause damage to wood flooring and the furniture in your home. Another sign of dry air in your home is withering or dead plants. Dust and soot can be a result of your furnace producing excess carbon dioxide, which is a sign that the life of a furnace is nearing its end.

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High Energy Bills and Furnace Repair Costs

When your furnace is in good working order, your energy bills should be relatively consistent from month to month. The older your furnace is the more energy it will require to run it. That’s why higher energy pills are a telltale sign that your furnace is using up more energy than it should to regulate the temperature in your home. When this happens, it’s time for a furnace replacement.

An old furnace is going to require more repair. So if you’re having to frequently repair your furnace, you may be better off using that money to invest in a new furnace instead.

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A good way to assess whether your furnace needs to be repaired or replaced the next time it breaks down is to take note of the cost of the repair. If the cost to repair your furnace will be more than half of the cost to purchase and install a new furnace, don’t spend your money on the repair work. You shouldn’t be investing that much money into an old furnace that is on its way out. Instead of repairing it, use that money towards a new furnace that will last you longer. However, if your furnace is under 10 years, it’s advisable to go ahead and just perform repairs to fix common problems.