As a Tucson resident, you can expect your furnace to last longer than you might think. But how long do furnaces last? Furnaces that endure heavy use, such as those in the Upper Midwest, may only last around 15 years, while those in Tucson can often reach 20 years or more. Chilly winter nights in Arizona rarely reach below-freezing temperatures, while homes in the midwest routinely contend with temperatures below 0 degrees.
The warmer weather means your furnace doesn't have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable. That's a major win when it comes to furnace lifespan. In this blog, we will explore the expected lifespan of furnaces and the factors that can influence it.
Learn more about furnace operations and the most efficient units for your Tucson home. Both electric and gas options are available and come with different expected run times.
Average Furnace Lifespan
A furnace can last more than 30 years if well-maintained and used lightly. The type of fuel your furnace uses plays a role in determining lifespan. Electric furnaces typically last around 20 years before repair costs and decreased energy efficiency makes replacement a compelling choice. On the other hand, gas units tend to have a longer lifespan, though they may have slightly higher upfront installation and operational costs.
As with any major appliance, your furnace loses some efficiency over time. That means the cost of heating your home may creep up every month until replacing the unit becomes more cost-effective than continuing to use it as your main heating source.
Signs Your Furnace Is Aging
Lost energy efficiency is only one sign that your furnace is reaching the end of its usable life. Some other signs include:
- Noisy operation. If your furnace becomes noticeably louder during operation, it's an indication that several components may have become loose or worn, potentially leading to significant repair needs.
- Inconsistent/insufficient heating. If you notice that one room in your home becomes excessively hot while another remains uncomfortably cold, it could indicate issues with your furnace. Alternatively, if your furnace operates but struggles to generate sufficient heat, especially as it ages, it may be reaching the end of its effective lifespan. In fact, when the cost of repairs approaches half the price of a replacement unit, it's typically wise to consider upgrading to a new furnace.
- Short cycling. If your furnace frequently turns on and off before adequately heating your home, a phenomenon known as "short cycling," it's likely in need of repairs. Short cycling can also serve as a warning sign that your furnace is nearing the end of its useful life.
How to Get More Years From Your Furnace
To maximize the lifespan of your furnace, it's essential to provide it with proper care. This includes scheduling annual maintenance, addressing repairs promptly, and adhering to a regular air filter replacement schedule.
Some other ways to support your heater include improving your insulation, ensuring the unit is properly sized for your home, and getting an HVAC professional to give it a tune-up every year. When your unit is new, you'll need to schedule tune-ups to keep your warranty in good standing, but as the system ages, it becomes even more necessary to catch minor issues while they stay minor and keep your unit running well.
When It's Time for a Replacement
Once your furnace is no longer under warranty and has surpassed 15 years in service, a significant repair typically signals the need to consider a replacement. The cumulative cost of repairs often determines the decision. When the necessary repair approaches half the expense of a new unit, investing in an upgrade becomes a prudent choice.
Newer units are more cost-effective and typically come with warranties that offer financial protection against repairs during the initial years of use.