How Long Does a Furnace Last? | Factors Affecting Furnace’s Lifespan


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Can a furnace last for 25 years? Yes! A furnace can last for about 15 – 30 years, but without proper maintenance, the system may pack up even before the end of its life expectancy. To make sure a furnace lasts for 25 years, you must follow specific maintenance tips.

In this article, you’ll come across tips to help you maintain your furnace and get the best out of it in the long run. Also, there are signs to look out for, such as irregular sounds that can help you detect when the furnace is faulty.

This blog will comprehensively answer the question of how long a furnace lasts. We’ll also provide critical information on making your furnace function effectively, even until the end of its lifespan.

How Long Does a Furnace Last?

The coldest parts of the year validate the importance of owning a furnace in your home. A furnace in good working condition helps circulate the right temperature in your home to keep you comfortable, regardless of the weather conditions.

Like other home appliances, furnaces also have a lifespan. This timeline is usually 15 to 30 years. Some furnaces can last longer than others due to certain factors. Maintaining a furnace properly at every stage of its life cycle impacts how long it’ll last.

Furnace Life Expectancy: The Breakdown

We can break down the timeline of a furnace into four stages:

Year 1-5

For the first five years of the furnace in your home, it may not need many repairs depending on how you use and maintain it. Most likely, you may just have to change one or two minor components like the filter during servicing and maintenance.

If you’re lucky enough, the warranty period when purchasing the furnace may cover up to three years of maintenance. However, it depends on the manufacturer and the deal you’re able to strike.

You have to ensure you schedule furnace maintenance regularly. At this point, being intentional about furnace maintenance determines how long it’ll last. The furnace will still be at its peak during the first five-year period. Regular maintenance will enable it to maintain excellent performance in the next five years at the least.

Year 5-10

During this timeline, the furnace’s effectiveness and performance depend on how well you managed it in the previous five years. You must continue in that maintenance routine to keep the furnace running.

This stage of your furnace’s lifespan may come with one or two faults due to wear and tear. But it’s best to fix the issue with the furnace because it’s yet to reach its full lifespan. This stage is critical to the durability of the furnace because it’s like the middle stage that determines whether the furnace enters into the “third five-year” period (fifteen years) in good condition.

Year 10-15

This timeline is the period where you may have a hint on whether it’s time to replace the furnace or not. Depending on how well you maintain the furnace, it may still perform optimally, thus negating the need for a replacement.

Most people likely change their furnace once it has gotten to this stage. However, you don’t need to replace your furnace if it’s still functioning properly. Upon getting to this stage, you may notice a reduction in the furnace’s efficiency. However, if the repair costs will be less than 50% of the furnace’s original price, it’s best to repair it.

Year 15-30

Here, the furnace is already reaching the end of its lifespan. Replacing it may not be immediate, but it’s wiser to start making plans already. When your furnace lasts up to 15-30 years, you may experience more repair expenses. However, some people are lucky enough to hire professionals who can repair and keep their furnace’s performance at its peak.

Related Article: How to Clean a Furnace

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Signs You Need to Repair or Replace Your Furnace

Regardless of the type, model, and make, furnaces can last for 15 to 30 years. However, some may last longer than others due to certain factors. Certain indicators determine whether it’s time to change your furnace or fix it. See these signs below:

Unstable Temperature in Your Home

Unstable Temperature In Your Home

When you start noticing varying temperatures in the rooms of your home, it’s a clear indication that it’s time to contract qualified furnace repair services experts. The experts will advise you on whether to replace the system or not.

Also, if the furnace is up to 15 years old and you start noticing such problems, it may be a sign that it’s nearing the completion of its life cycle. The furnace may become less effective and efficient, losing the ability to evenly distribute heat across your home. So, you may want to start making plans for a replacement.

Yellow Flames Instead of Blue

A furnace in perfect working condition produces a clean blue flame when heating your home. If you notice yellow flames in your furnace, it may be a pointer that your furnace is producing Carbon (IV) Oxide.

Importantly, you have to note that yellow flames with a gas smell indicate that there may be a leak or improper burning process.  A gas leak is not a situation to joke with, as it can lead to a possible fire outbreak. It’s important to call furnace repair services to come and look at it immediately.

Irregular Noise from Furnace

If you hear an unfamiliar noise from your furnace, it’s time to repair or replace it. If the furnace is over 15 years old, it’s best to change it entirely, but if it’s still within the active years, a repair is the better choice. See different furnace sounds and their indications below:

Clicking Sound

If you hear a clicking sound from your furnace, it’s a sign that the igniter or flame sensor may need repairs. Fortunately, the clicking sound from a furnace is common, and a standard repair can get your furnace up and running again in no time.

Popping Sound

A popping sound has to do with the temperature. So if you hear a pop sound from your furnace, you may want to call for repairs on components that relate to temperature change.

Screeching Sound

The screeching sound indicates a defective blower motor, belt, or pulley. If it’s an old furnace, you may need to budget for a new one.

Rattling Sound

The rattling sound may be a result of loose equipment or ducts. You can reach out to a professional to help you ascertain if it’s time to replace your furnace or repair it.

Booming Sound

A booming sound is an indicator of serious gas emission problems. The booming noise or sound results from a minor delay in the ignition process. But if the gas smell lingers, then it’s a sign that you have to call for a professional furnace repair service to come around.

Increase in Energy Bills

When a furnace has to work harder to heat your home, it zaps more energy. An increase in energy bills can signify that something is wrong with your furnace. It also shows that the unit may be wearing down finally. You may want to call an expert to look at the unit.

Frequent Repairs

Appliances develop faults every once in a while due to constant usage. But if the repairs become more frequent, it may be due to an aging system or furnace. Also, when the repairs are costlier than purchasing a new furnace, it’s best to change the central heating unit.

Soot Near the Air Duct Register

Soot around the air vents (the heat exit point of the system) shows your furnace system is manufacturing too much carbon IV oxide. It’s wise to contact furnace repair services to diagnose the problem.

Proactive Furnace Care for Extended Lifespan, Reach Out Now:

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Factors that Determine Your Furnace’s Lifespan

Are you trying to project how long your furnace will keep working? The following factors will determine exactly how long your furnace lasts:


Excess humidity can cause your furnace to rust quicker than you expect. Therefore, it’s important to regulate humidity levels in your home to reduce moisture and prevent rust.

During summer, you can guard against excess moisture by using a dehumidifier. You can also use a humidifier to maintain humidity levels in the winter.

Weird Smell When the Furnace is Working

When you put on the furnace for the first time during winter, it’s normal to perceive natural gas for a little while. But if the gas smell persists, it’s an issue that you have to resolve immediately.

When a furnace gets older, the more likely it is for the heat exchanger to develop a crack. The crack in the exchanger can lead to gas leakage or carbon monoxide. If you notice that your family or everyone in your home is complaining of burning eyes or nose, headaches, dizziness, or nausea, chances are, the gas in the furnace is leaking.

Your next line of action is to contact furnace repair services immediately. Acting fast can also help you to prevent the possibility of a fire outbreak.

Work Rate

The run time of a furnace affects how long it lasts. When your furnace works consistently for a long period, there will be more wear and tear.

You need to frequently clean the furnace, use programmable thermostats, and conduct routine maintenance to manage this situation. Engaging in these acts positively impacts how long a furnace lasts. It also helps the furnace function more effectively and prevents it from working around the clock, increasing its functional lifespan.


Your area of residence also plays a role in the lifespan of your furnace. For instance, if you live in a dry environment, there’ll be more debris, dust, and dirt accumulating around the furnace filter.

You need to constantly check the unit’s coils and filters and change them once you notice any build-up. If the furnace is close to landscaping, it’s essential to always keep that area clean for better air circulation. If you fail to check and extricate the accumulation of weeds or leaves periodically, it may cause the unit to overheat.


When installing your furnace, do well to ensure proper ventilation. The heat exchanger can become faulty if airflow is not enough. Improper ventilation affects how long a furnace lasts adversely.

Improper Maintenance

Proper maintenance is critical to how long a furnace lasts. If you fail to plan for routine maintenance, you’re planning for a shorter furnace lifespan. Therefore, it’s quite important to schedule preventive maintenance with professional furnace repair services.

Quality of the System and its Components

A furnace’s quality and components also affect how long it will last. Furnaces are large systems that come with many components. Sometimes, these components can become defective, adversely affecting the system’s life expectancy.

During repairs or maintenance, you need to ensure any replacement component is authentic. When you’re about to purchase a furnace for your home, you need to consult a professional to discover the best grade and quality for your home, goals, and needs.

Quality Of System

The Make and Model of the Furnace

Generally, some furnace brands and models are better than others. Obviously, a better-quality furnace will last longer. When you’re about to buy one, you can always research the best quality for your budget.

Type of Furnace

There are different furnace types, including propane, gas, electric, and oil. Each of these furnace types has different lifespans on average. These days, the most common type of furnace is the natural gas furnace, and it has an average lifespan of about 15 to 30 years.

Electric furnaces have an average life expectancy of about 20 to 30 years. In contrast, propane furnaces have a shorter life expectancy of 16 to 20 years. If you own an oil furnace, you can expect it to last for 15 to 20 years with adequate maintenance.

Proper Sizing

One important factor that contributes to how long a furnace lasts is its size. A small furnace will require extra work hours to circulate heat in your home properly. It leads to a shorter life expectancy due to the run time and higher rate of wear and tear.

On the flip side, a large furnace will frequently cycle, causing the components to wear and tear faster. Also, a large furnace will turn on and off too quickly, resulting in a shorter lifespan.

Poor Installation

Poor furnace installation can lead to a short lifespan. Hence, the a need to contact a professional to run the installation. Professional furnace installation will enable you to avoid double expenses.

For instance, if the ductwork isn’t properly sealed, sized, or designed, it will affect the airflow of your furnace and its efficiency. Poor furnace installation can also result in poor drainage systems for high-efficiency furnaces and incorrectly installed fuel lines which negatively impacts the system’s lifespan.

Maintenance Tips to Make Your Furnace Last Longer

The average furnace can only last for about 10 and 15 years, but you can help it last even longer by observing simple tips. Implementing these tips will help your furnace function properly and last beyond its warranty.

Run Maintenance Twice a Year

One of the ways to make your furnace last longer is to schedule maintenance at least twice a year. After the first maintenance routine, the system may sometimes develop issues that you may not know about. The second maintenance routine will help to check such hidden issues, thereby keeping your system in good condition almost every time.

Limit Usage

You can compare the number of hours your furnace works to a car’s mileage. If you use the furnace less frequently, it’ll serve you more in the long run. It’s an effective tip on how to make a furnace last long.

To limit the usage, you can use a WiFi or programmable thermostat to reduce the heat once nobody’s home automatically. A Wi-Fi thermostat enables you to control the furnace from your phone, laptop, or tablet when you’re not home.

Change Your Filter Consistently

Changing your filter regularly plays a vital role in how long a furnace lasts. You need to cultivate the habit of checking your furnace’s filter regularly if you want it to last for a while.

It’s important to regularly monitor your furnace filter because if it’s blocked, it’ll cause the components to wear down faster.

Related Article: Buying a High-efficiency Furnace

Final Thoughts

A furnace is an essential home appliance that makes life comfortable for people. Sadly due to constant usage and other factors, your furnace may break down before the end of its lifespan (15-30 years).

However, there are certain tips on how to make a furnace last long, with the top of the list being constant maintenance. It’s better to reach out to professionals to help you maintain and keep your system in good working condition.

You can check out our furnace maintenance services to repair and keep your unit functioning optimally at all times. Our rates are the best you can get around, and our services are second to none. Contact ALP Heating today!

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