How Often Should You Replace Your Home Heating System?
How often should you replace your heating system? Numerous resources in print and online provide varying answers to this question. All these places then have different facts and guides that can help extend the lifespan of your furnace. One major tip, which is common in these resources, is by having proper and regular maintenance.
But in reality, “there is no exact science to the life expectancy of a heating system”’. Systems that are poorly maintained will often need more repair service, become inefficient over time, and their life expectancy is shortened.
There have been instances wherein the furnace needed replacement a few years short of its life expectancy because of certain issues with its main components such as the burner misfiring and burned controls. Different problems can start to manifest at any time once one or two components are damaged or stops working and no immediate solution is applied.
What’s the Typical Furnace Lifespan?
On average, furnaces can last between 15-20 years. However, there are still a lot of heating systems that do not reach this life expectancy. The longevity of these units depends on the production quality, frequency and extent of their usage, and the exposure to a proper maintenance program.
The type of unit used and installed is also an important factor. “Older models with heavy cast iron heat exchangers” tend to last longer the average lifespan of up to 30 to 40 years. The risk with older models is that they are less efficient. Electric furnaces have a projected lifespan of 20-30 years whereas gas furnaces, on average, will last up to 10-15 years.
Always consider the fact that a furnace is a complex system, it doesn’t run on components alone. Whether it runs on electricity or gas, it runs on the teamwork of a collection of significant parts. When one of these components malfunctions or breaks because either it’s worn out or has reached its limit, the entire system suffers. For a fact, a heat exchanger lasts up to 15-20 years. So if your unit survives and still works beyond that, you’ll have to shoulder an expensive repair service and replace the heat exchanger (which is costly too) to keep it functional.
Factors that Affect Your Heating Replacement Schedule
Proper care through routine maintenance is the best method in preserving the lifespan of your heating system. HVAC Contractors, technicians, and other professionals on the field will always advise their clients to always look out for the best maintenance service for their heating and cooling system. Early detection of damages and early signs of wear are identified immediately with regular inspection.
Now, here are the factors that impact the lifespan of your comfort system.
Installation – Poor installation, mismatched components, or a wrong unit size are some of the installation issues that can take years off of the heating system’s lifespan. Talk to a trusted technician if you have doubts or questions about your unit before investing in a new furnace installation.
Size – Proper sizing is crucial. The power capacity of your unit must match the entire size of the living space that needs heating. If the furnace is too small for your home, the obvious route is to overwork itself most of the time which can result in it wearing down and burning out faster than expected. If it’s the opposite, the on-and-off cycle increases and places the system in more stress. More stress means more strain on the poor furnace.
Maintenance – Annual maintenance is like keeping your furnace hydrated, giving it a boost in the most crucial times. Scheduling an annual inspection and tune-up before winter prevents small issues from becoming big and stops possible total shutdown.
Filters – Proper airflow serves as nourishment to the system. When air flows freely, the system can function normally as intended and it eliminates any form of stress. Fresh filters help preserve the furnace.
Climate – Cities with a naturally warm climate allows for less usage of the system – less stress, less wear. Pair it up with a regular maintenance schedule, the unit generally lasts longer.
Usage – In places that are colder or experience heavy snow and freezing climate all the time, the dependency on the heaters is high and the usage is heavy. A unit that works non-stop is more likely to wear down faster. Frequent usage also means regular full maintenance to slow down the ill effects of constant use.
Quality – Unit quality is a determining factor of the system’s sustainability. Sometimes, expensive and top quality units may not be what your home needs. To find the perfect match, talk to an HVAC professional to identify the best unit that will work for your comfort needs and goals.
How to Avoid a Heating System Replacement if You’re Not Ready
Emergency situations can happen when we least expect them, and a heating emergency can be avoided if we pay enough attention to our comfort system.
Start with a clean space. Make sure that the furnace is situated in a clean room free from dust, debris, and other objects that may affect its operation. Additionally, a clean room provides the furnace with clean air which helps it function uninterrupted. It also prevents accidents like clothing burning or fire-hazard materials from igniting if kept too close from happening.
You can look for options to reduce the system’s workload. Seemingly normal habits may actually damage it. A simple action like adjusting the thermostat frequently or forgetting to properly close the doors pushes it to work harder and stay on longer. Air leaks around doors and windows, insufficient insulation in several parts of your home, and undetected blockage in vents and ducts must be addressed right away.
If you suspect such issues happening in your home, be proactive and do something about it. Or better yet, ask help from a professional. By getting expert assistance, you’re not only addressing obvious problems with your furnace, but you’re also covering underlying and hidden concerns that can lead to bigger problems in the future.