A central heating system is a sturdy, hard-working unit, engineered for years of dependable use. Construction methods and materials have been perfected over the decades, and mass production has made build quality very consistent among major manufacturers.
Still, every mechanical device has a limited expected service life. If you decide to stay in your home long enough, you’ll eventually be faced with upgrading your central heating system. Here are some guidelines to help you evaluate when that time is approaching.
Age of the Unit
Gas-fired forced air furnaces have an expected lifespan of between 15 and 20 years. However, expected life is not the same as useful life. By the time a furnace is two decades old, greater energy efficiency and substantially lower operating costs may be available by upgrading to a new unit, even if the existing furnace is still technically functional.
At some point, a central heating system may require repairs so expensive that replacement is a more financially viable option. This is particularly true in the case of a cracked heat exchanger — a critical component for both safety and performance. It’s also the most expensive part in your system. In most cases, if repair costs equal 40 percent of the price of a new unit, replacement is the best course.
If rooms that used to be comfortable during the winter aren’t anymore, or if you’re running your furnace longer and paying higher utility bills to maintain the same level of comfort, simple wear and tear may be taking its toll on your heating system components. Burners and heat exchangers are repeatedly exposed to both high temperatures and rapid cooling, which can stress and degrade components over the years, resulting in diminished heating performance.
Annual furnace tune-ups by a qualified service technician can help extend the service life of your central heating system. When it’s time to upgrade, your HVAC contractor can advise you on new options for higher efficiency, improved performance and lower operating costs. For more information, contact Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heating systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Aquir/Shutterstock”