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5 signs you need a new furnace

Answer these questions to find out if you need a new furnace.

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Are your energy bills higher than usual? It might be time for a new heating system.

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Your furnace is one of the most important systems in your home, and it's also one of the most expensive appliances to replace. As a result, homeowners may find themselves wondering just how many years they can expect to get out of a furnace. In this article, we'll share how long a furnace typically lasts, how to know when it's time to replace your furnace and a few things you can do to extend the life of your furnace.

How long does a furnace last?

The typical lifespan of a furnace can be anywhere from 15 to 30 years. If you've had your furnace for less than 15 years, you likely don't have to worry about replacing it any time soon. But if it's older than 15 years and you've started noticing problems, it may be on its last leg. And if your furnace is nearing 30 years old, then it's probably time to make sure you have the money set aside to replace it in the near future.

Keep in mind that the lifespan of your furnace depends on a variety of factors, including the type of furnace you have, how often you use it, how well it was installed and whether you regularly maintain it during its lifetime.

How to know when it's time to replace your furnace

It's important to pay attention to your furnace so you know when it's time to replace it. It's worth paying especially close attention once your furnace surpasses its expected lifespan since that means it's likely you'll need to replace it sooner rather than later. Here are a few ways you can tell it's time to replace your furnace:

  • Your furnace is making different noises: If you've noticed that your furnace is suddenly making strange noises, pay attention. Noises such as popping, rattling, humming, clicking and more could be a sign that your furnace is no longer working properly.
  • Your energy bill has increased: When a furnace is nearing the end of its life, it doesn't heat your home as efficiently. As a result, it takes more energy -- and therefore, more money -- to heat your home. 
  • Your home is being heated unevenly: Have you noticed that certain areas of your home are colder than others? If your furnace is heating your home unevenly, it could be a sign that it's on its last leg.
  • You're experiencing poor air quality: You may find that toward the end of your furnace's life, the air quality in your home has worsened, and there's more dust and other particles being distributed through your home.
  • You're having to make frequent repairs: If your furnace has needed quite a few repairs lately and it's more than 15 years old, then it may be time to replace it. Extending the life of your furnace past its useful life may do more harm than good.
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How to extend the life of your furnace

Worried about having to replace your furnace? The good news is that there are several things you can do to extend its lifespan and get more value from your furnace. 

  • First and foremost, it's important that you have regular maintenance done on your furnace. At the very least, schedule a maintenance appointment once per year. Fall is a great time to do this since you'll be relying heavily on your furnace during the upcoming winter months. It's also important to clean your furnace regularly.
  • Another simple way to extend the life of your furnace is by cleaning or replacing your furnace filters regularly. Most filters should be replaced roughly every three months, but certain types may need to be replaced more or less often. If filters go too long without being replaced, they can harm the air quality in your home and reduce the life of your heating and cooling system.
  • When you're shopping for your next furnace, you can ensure a longer lifespan by buying a high-quality system and ensuring it's installed properly. Poor installation can be one of the causes of a furnace going out earlier than expected. And the fact is that some furnaces are simply better than others. You can work with a professional to find the best furnace for your home.

The bottom line

Your furnace is one of the most important systems in your home, especially if you live in a cold region. It's important to understand just how long your furnace's expected lifespan is. Not only will this help you be on the lookout for a furnace that needs to be replaced, but you can also take steps to extend its lifespan. Taking the right measures could help you to get an additional decade of use from your furnace, so it's worth taking the extra time to properly maintain it.