When Is It Time to Replace Your Furnace?

Furnace’s boast such long lifespans it’s easy to forget they don’t last forever. In most cases, your furnace will tip you off that it’s on its way out by experiencing sudden issues and noticeably reduced performance. 

While these issues are clear indicators that something is wrong, you’ll need an experienced HVAC technician to help determine the best course of action. Alternatively, your furnace may be running fine as far as you can tell, but the time to replace it has come. 

So how do you know when to replace your furnace, and should you replace your furnace before it breaks? This quick guide offers some insights into these questions so you can avoid paying more for an aging furnace than you need to. 

How Long Does an Electric Furnace Last? 

How long does a furnace last? It’s generally safe to assume that an electric furnace will last somewhere in the 15- to 20-year range, though several factors can increase or decrease this estimate. 

Make and Model

Not all furnaces are made the same. Depending upon the brand and model, this range may vary. Newer models of furnaces will have longer expected lifespans than the older models, so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how long a furnace will last. 


How long your furnace will last is directly linked to how it was installed, which is why choosing an experienced HVAC professional to perform the job is so important. 

Improperly installed furnaces are susceptible to premature breakdowns, reduced efficiency levels, and insufficient air distribution, all of which can wreak havoc in the entirety of the system, reducing its lifespan. 

Maintenance Record

Regular maintenance doesn’t just keep your warranty valid. It extends the lifetime of your furnace significantly. Without regular maintenance, parts will begin to wear down over time, without notice, further damage to the system and costly breakdowns. 

A furnace that has been properly and regularly maintained will last considerably longer than one that hasn’t. 

Signs You Need to Replace a Furnace

On your furnace’s way out, it often gives off signals that the time is coming. They’re easy to miss if you don’t know what to look for. Here are some of the most common ones: 

Increased Energy Bills

If your monthly power bill has gone up and you aren’t sure why it’s likely your furnace’s fault. A furnace struggling to keep up uses more energy to perform its functions than a healthy one. 

Temperature Inconsistencies 

Are you noticing temperature variations throughout your home? Like one room is warm while another is considerably cooler? This is a sign that your furnace isn’t doing its job properly. 

Strange Smells and Noises

A healthy furnace is a quiet furnace. If your furnace has been making a ruckus lately with humming, banging, or popping sounds, it’s a clear indication of a potentially serious problem. 

An unhealthy or dying furnace may also begin emitting odors. If you smell musty or electrical burning type odors in your home, particularly when your furnace is running, it’s time to consider replacing it. 

How to Extend the Life of Your Furnace

The 15- to the 20-year range is a modest estimate. Your furnace can live longer if you take care of it. The best ways to increase your furnace’s lifespan include: 

Replace the Furnace Filter Regularly

The air filter in your furnace plays a vital role in your system’s and family’s overall health by trapping and collecting particulates and debris in the air. If this filter becomes clogged, not only does it fail to keep the air in your home clean, it makes it harder for your furnace to do its job. 

Your furnace will have to work harder and use more energy to force air through the clogged filter, leading to wear and tear on the parts and potential breakdowns. 

The simple art of changing out the filter regularly goes a long way to maintaining a healthy furnace that will last for years to come. 

Get Regular Tune-ups

Furnace tune-ups are the best way to ensure your furnace lives a long and healthy life by catching small issues it may be having before they turn into bigger problems. During an annual furnace tune-up, an HVAC professional will check in on the health of your: 

  • Furnace ignitor
  • Furnace blower motor
  • Furnace capacitor
  • Furnace flame sensor
  • Furnace thermostat

Problems with any of these parts could lead to a premature furnace replacement, so it’s important to ensure they remain clean and operational. 

Optimize Efficiency

A programmable thermostat helps manage the temperature in your home and keeps your furnace from working harder than it has to. Rather than trying to remember to adjust the settings throughout your busy days, a programmable thermostat will handle this task for you by sticking to a predetermined schedule optimal for your home’s comfort without ever missing a beat. 

Should You Replace a Furnace Before It Breaks?

While furnace replacements are an obvious necessity when they stop working, there’s no reason you can’t replace them before that time comes and avoid the inconvenience of a sudden breakdown. The best time to replace your furnace is before it stops working. A seasoned HVAC expert can tell you when the time is near so you can make an informed decision for your home. 

Expert Furnace Services in Boise, ID and the Treasure Valley area

If you need a local furnace professional to help maintain one of your home’s most important systems, TSS Home Comfort has you covered. From Installations to repairs, cleaning and maintenance, we provide a full range of services to keep your furnace healthy. Contact us today to learn more.