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My Gas Furnace: How Long Before I Need to Replace It?

Published on: February 18, 2014

Depending on the source, you’ll read that the lifespan of a gas furnace is somewhere between 15 and 25 years, with the average being 18 years. The service life varies due to system quality, extent of use and maintenance. If your furnace has passed the 15-year mark, it’s wise to begin researching your options so you’ll be ready to make a decision when the time comes.

How to Tell if It’s Replacement Time

The following information can help you determine if your furnace is ready to be replaced.

Its age. As mentioned above, a furnace that has passed the 15-year mark is nearing its end. Also, furnace efficiency has improved drastically over the past decade. If your furnace is 15 years old, and has an Annual Energy Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating in the 80s or lower, you will gain significant energy savings by replacing it with a newer system.

Annual repair bills. How much have you spent on repairs in the last year or so? Are expensive repairs looming on the horizon? There comes a time when it’s no longer cost-efficient to continue repairing an older, less-efficient furnace. The HVAC industry recommends replacing a heating or cooling system when recent or anticipated repair costs are approaching 50 percent of the total replacement cost.

Elevated utility bills. If your furnace usage has remained consistent, but utility bills are on the rise, make an appointment with a licensed HVAC technician to have your system inspected. This can be a sign of several issues, including system malfunctions, airflow obstructions, or leaky or uninsulated ducts. If all of these things check out, the cause is most likely an inefficient gas furnace, and you’ll benefit by replacing it with a high-efficiency model.

There are several things you can do to increase the lifespan of your furnace:

  • Observe a routine maintenance schedule
  • Upgrade whole-house energy systems to protect the furnace from excessive wear and tear
  • Keep ductwork in good shape, sealing leaks and cleaning as needed

Think your home needs a gas furnace replacement? Contact us to find a qualified HVAC contractor in your part of the Southeast U.S.