How long does a furnace actually last?by Roger Barber on 12/30/10
What the heck is with an old furnace anyway? Man – they built them to last
for – FREAKING – ever in the 1970?s. I guess they figured that gas would always be cheap and that new technology would pass furnaces by. Well – not true. A furnace built in 1970 was about 60%-65% efficient versus today’s 95%efficient models.
We get asked this question a lot! Most furnaces will typically last for between 12 and 15 years depending on how well they are maintained. With good maintenance they can last 20 years or longer. With poor maintenance they can be unusable in as little as 5 to 7 years. Home builders often use lower grade “builder models” offered by otherwise well-known manufacturers (including Trane, Rheem/Ruud, and
more than 8 to 12 years, whereas premium models from these companies will
typically last much longer.
Having your furnace cleaned and tuned annually will help to ensure it is operating at optimum performance levels. The natural byproducts of combustion are corrosive and will attack the inner workings of a furnace. If the combustion process is well adjusted the corrosion will be kept to a minimum but it only takes a minor maladjustment to result in poor combustion. The type of fuel being used has a lot to do with how corrosive the combustion gases are. For about 90% of us, natural gas is the primary fuel available. Natural gas is clean burning and with proper equipment care, minimal corrosion will occur.
An old furnace is not bad because it is old. In an inspection certain
things are inspected on a furnace, but if they are operable with no major
problems – then they are not a problem from a technicians point of view. However, one of the best things you can do to lower your monthly gas bill in the
wintertime is to upgrade an older (even perfectly functional) furnace to a high
efficiency model. The savings in monthly gas usage usually pay the furnace off
in about 5 years. Getting rid of that old 60% efficient furnace and upgrading to a new ultra high efficient 95% efficient furnace is not only a sound financial investment for you its also a responsible step towards a "Greener" world for tomorrow!
Quick side note – what does the "efficiency" really mean? Well in realistic terms, think of it as a dollar bill. If you buy $1 of gas and have a 60% efficient furnace, then 60 cents is heating your home and 40 cents in going out of the flue/chimney! So a 95% efficient furnace means that you lose only 5% of your house's heat out of the flue. Keep that in mind as you slowly peek at your monthly NIPSCO bill!
Stay warm and live well!!