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What Is the Life Expectancy of a Furnace?

There’s nothing like stepping out of the autumnal chill and into your warm and comfortable home. And while the perfect knit sweater, blanket, or cup of tea can help you get to optimal coziness, your furnace will be doing a large part of the heavy lifting. It’s one of the devices in your home that, when working perfectly, you barely think about. Whenever you’re feeling a bit chilly, just adjust the thermostat and let the furnace take it from there. However, there will come a day when old reliable stops being quite so reliable. The average life expectancy of a furnace is between 15 and 20 years.

This range does not exist as an arbitrary fact of life, though. There are many factors that can affect your furnace life expectancy, keeping it running for years longer than expected or pushing it ever closer to an early retirement. If you’re trying to figure out how many years a furnace has left, here’s what you need to consider.

What Year Was Your Furnace Manufactured?


When trying to determine your furnace life expectancy, you need to factor in the year the unit was made. That’s not just because an older unit will, by definition, have already lived through part of its life span either. Technology has come a long way in the last few years, and while a furnace may not be as flashy as the newest phone or smart device, it has had its share of advancements.

Generally speaking, any newer furnace model will last longer than an older one. By incorporating new technology into modern furnaces, manufacturers have been able to improve their efficiency and make their component parts much more long-lived. If your furnace is less than 10 years old, you can probably expect to use it for some time more. If not, it may be time to start looking to replace it.

Environmental Factors

While a furnace’s primary function is to alter the indoor environment of your home, you may not be aware of the fact that the same environment can in turn alter the furnace itself.

First, consider your climate. If you live in a more mild or temperate part of the world, you’re not likely to use your furnace all that often. As such, your furnace life expectancy is going to be higher than one in a home somewhere with much harsher and more frequent cold weather. The more you use a furnace, the shorter its life span will be.

Second, examine its placement in your home. Is it getting enough ventilation? Is there too much moisture gathering? Improper airflow can result in long-term damage to the unit, particularly the heat exchanger, shaving years off its life span. Remember: your furnace does not exist within a vacuum. Keep in mind any environmental factors that may have an impact on its well-being.

Frequent Strain on the Unit

Each home has its own heating needs, depending on both the house’s structure itself as well as the people who live there. Despite this, there are plenty of homes where a furnace is installed with little to no forethought about the home it’s going into. Every furnace has an optimal size space in which it can work at peak efficiency. Put it in a home that’s too large, and it will overwork itself; put it in one too small, and it will need to constantly switch off and on to maintain the temperature the thermostat is set at.

Even if it’s theoretically the right size, there are some temperatures even the ideal unit will struggle to maintain. Turning the thermostat all the way up or all the way down will strain your furnace even if it’s perfectly sized for your home. For maximum energy efficiency, your thermostat should be set somewhere between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything outside that range will force your HVAC system to run constantly to maintain the indoor temperature. That constant usage will have a negative impact on your furnace life expectancy, so it’s important the unit both fits your home well and has a reasonable goal to achieve.

Professional Installation

We have a deep respect for every do-it-yourselfer out there who has the courage and confidence to break out the tool belt and get to work on their own home. That being said, some things are better left to the professionals. Furnace installations are one of those things, requiring a great deal of technical knowledge and experience to handle correctly.

Improper installation can lead to a reduction in efficiency, poor air distribution, an overall reduction in home comfort, and more maintenance required in the future. All of that together means you can see a serious dip in your furnace life expectancy. If and when you do get a new furnace, leave its installation to the experts.

Maintenance Frequency

You know how with your first car, you did the best you could to ignore that weird sound until you finally ended up on the side of the road, wishing you’d just spent the hundred or so dollars to get a tune-up? Well, a furnace might never leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere, but you still need to get it tuned up regularly. Without regular maintenance, small, easy-to-fix problems can quickly balloon into something much larger and more expensive. Scheduling yearly maintenance with a trusted HVAC specialist will help you extend your furnace’s life expectancy, saving you both trouble and money longer down the road.

Making It Last for Years to Come

You may not have full control over the circumstances your furnace operates in, but that just makes the elements you do control all the more important. That’s where we come in. With years of experience in the Pacific Northwest, Entek is ready to help you meet any heating needs you may have. Whether it’s scheduling routine maintenance, arranging for repairs, or installing a brand-new, state-of-the-art model, our expertise and knowledge are at your disposal. Whatever you need, we have your back.

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