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How Long Does a Furnace Last?

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Furnace technician inspecting a furnace to increase how long it will last

The age of a house, and the parts therein, are essential to your quality of life.

Whether you’ve lived in the same house for years or you’re browsing the homes available today, knowing your home’s age could save you loads of cash and stress in the future. One of the most important parts of a house is the furnace—the beating heart of your home comfort—and it could develop several problems throughout its lifetime, some of which can lead to a complete furnace failure.

Repairing or replacing a furnace can be costly, time-consuming, and possibly dangerous, but you could avoid these issues by simply knowing how old your furnace is and getting regular furnace tune-ups.

But even if you’re having regular tune-ups, how long can a furnace last? And what are the issues that commonly develop throughout your furnace’s life? Let’s take a look at the life of your furnace and everything you can do to ensure it serves your family for many more years to come!

Furnaces Last 15 to 25 Years

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the average furnace lasts about 15 to 25 years, but many factors can determine a furnace’s lifespan, like how often you use the furnace, the type of furnace you have, and how often it gets maintenance.

In Canada, most homes have gas furnaces with an AFUE rating of 90% to 95%. These furnaces can be single or multi-stage, and their size can change depending on the home’s size and heating requirements. Living in Alberta, you’ll likely also have to use your furnace through the chillier months of October all the way to April or May.

The key to extending your furnace’s life is having annual tune-ups. During a tune-up, we take a detailed look at every aspect of your home’s heating system, like your:

  • Filter
  • Thermostat
  • Ignition
  • Wiring
  • Heat exchanger
  • Blower motor
  • Ventilation

There are a number of systems at work inside your furnace, so it’s important to ensure every part is working correctly. A well-maintained furnace can last up to 25 years or longer while also reducing your energy bill by 12%!

Common Issues an Aging Furnace May Face

Without maintenance, your furnace’s lifespan will plummet. Some may last 15 years, but you may start experiencing problems much earlier.

Furnace problems may start out small, but ignoring them could lead to disastrous and costly consequences in the long run. You could correct some of these issues on your own (like changing your furnace filter), but we strongly suggest speaking with our team at Action Furnace if you start noticing more serious issues with your furnace.

Dirty Furnace Filters

As you use your furnace, your furnace filter will get dirty; it’s just a fact of life. However, you can avoid many problems by changing your furnace filter regularly with high-quality replacements.

We’ve written extensively about what type of furnace filters may be best for you, but a general rule you could follow is replacing your filter once every 1 to 3 months. Regular replacements will help prevent mechanical issues, higher energy bills, or possible emergencies like furnace fires. 

Noisiness

If you’re hearing squealing, scratching, rattling, or whirring, you’re going to need to get your furnace looked at by a professional.

One of the most common causes of noisy furnaces is blower motor problems. Your blower motor is responsible for pushing air from your furnace to the rest of your home, but worn-down belts, loose bearings, and other mechanical problems can lead to higher energy bills, poor airflow, or little to no heat.

Pilot Light & Ignition Problems

Over time, your furnace might have trouble turning on or maintaining its pilot light. These problems could stem from rusted components, a faulty thermocouple, old gas regulators, or even damaged gas valves.

These are complex issues that require a professional’s help. Please do not attempt to repair or fix these on your own as they could lead to more serious complications, some of which may be dangerous, like carbon monoxide poisoning.

Smells & Odours

If you smell something coming from your furnace, it’s time to talk to an expert.

Smells and odours can stem from:

  • Dusty air filters
  • Electrical problems
  • Bacteria
  • Gas leaks

A rotten egg odour could signify a gas leak. In this case, please turn off your furnace and immediately call our team.

When To Repair vs. Replace

So when do you decide it’s time to get a new furnace or repair the one you have? The answer ultimately depends on how old your furnace is and how often you experience issues.

Repairing an old furnace might just prolong the inevitable and possibly put you at risk of other problems that could either be costly or dangerous. In most cases, we recommend replacing your furnace when:

  • It’s over 15 to 20 years old
  • It constantly needs repairs
  • Your heating bill is rising
  • Your home’s air quality is lowering

Furnace Tune-Ups Can Save You Money

Simple maintenance checks can make a significant difference in your furnace’s lifespan. Annual tune-ups are a quick, affordable, convenient way to avoid a wide array of problems your furnace might experience throughout its lifetime.

Our in-depth, 50-point inspection service ensures your furnace is ready to keep your family cozy and comfortable even during the chilliest Albertan seasons. Book your tune-up today and call the team at Action Furnace.

Written by Ryan Tutak

Ryan is considered one of Calgary's most knowledgeable residential HVAC specialists. Working in the industry for over 12 years, he's helped thousands of homeowners with their heating and cooling systems. Outside of running Calgary's most reputable HVAC business, you can find him on the Golf course practicing his short game or traveling with his family. His main goal is to create a positive collaborative culture, one in which his employees are excited to come in and are motivated to work hard. He spends the majority of his day working directly with Home Comfort Advisors, Service and Maintenance Technicians, and Customer Service Representatives ensuring they are fully prepared to lead the Home Service Industry in Customer Service.

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