The life span of a furnace is a more complicated question than you might first imagine. Yes, many pieces and parts in a furnace are replaceable, extending its life by many years. But if the furnace is old, it might cost more to keep it in service than to replace it. This is because newer furnaces of all types are far more energy efficient than older furnaces. Here are some things to consider that can affect the life span of a furnace in the Galveston area:

  • The hardest working furnace element is the heat exchanger. If your heat exchanger is corroded or cracked, that’s a major safety issue. The life span of a furnace with a damaged heat exchanger is extremely short.
  • Your furnace may be so old it has a cast iron heat exchanger that could outlive you. But thick-walled cast iron is extremely inefficient, which means you’re wasting money on fuel costs.
  • A stainless steel or aluminized steel heat exchanger might work up to 25 years, but it may be inefficient compared to newer systems. Steel heat exchangers also have much thinner walls than cast iron exchangers.

Who Knew?

If you bought your house with an existing furnace, you can’t be sure how well the previous owners maintained it. If your Houston area home’s furnace is more than 15 years old, significantly more energy-efficient units are on the market. Look for Energy Star models. Older units operate in the 56 percent to 70 percent efficient range, while today’s Energy Star systems can achieve up to 98.5 percent efficiency.

Money to Burn?

  • Tax breaks for replacing inefficient furnaces expire at the end of 2013.
  • If you haven’t installed a programmable thermostat and are constantly fiddling with the thermostat to call for heat, you might be shortening the life span of a furnace.
  • With wintertime temperatures averaging 52.6 degrees F—far below the 68 degrees F most people find comfortable— furnaces across the Angleton area work harder in winter. Don’t cost yourself cash and shorten the life span of a furnace by ignoring seasonal maintenance.

For more advice on furnace lifespan, contact Davis Air Conditioning & Heating.

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