You know how long you want the furnace to last: either forever or until you move out of the home. But unfortunately, most homeowners have to face a furnace replacement eventually. Like any major replacement, they are more affordable and less stressful when you know they are coming. So, when should you expect a furnace replacement? How long should you expect a new furnace to last? We’ll answer those questions below.


How Long Should a Furnace Last?

Your furnace should last at least 15 years. Rare is the furnace that is properly maintained and gives out before this. In the best circumstances, a furnace may last 30 years, and you probably have some of the conditions necessary for this long lifespan if you live in California. On the other hand, approaching the 15-year mark, you should start anticipating that you’ll need to replace your furnace soon.

While 15 years is a good benchmark for furnace life, there are many different factors that might make your specific furnace last longer or give out sooner. We’ll explore those factors below.

Fuel Source

Simply put, electric furnaces last longer than gas ones on average. Oil-fueled furnaces last longer than either electric or gas.

Brand and Model Matter

When a furnace is well-built and made of better materials, it will last longer than a furnace with a worse design. Sometimes in the pursuit of energy efficiency, we sacrifice longevity. Older gas furnaces used cast iron, which could last 30 or 40 years. But they were highly inefficient and cost people considerable amounts in utilities just for heating their homes. Modern energy-efficient appliances are easier on your energy bill but give out earlier.

Still, you can choose the brands and models that are most efficient and still provide a strong service life. How do you know which are better?

  • Ask your HVAC technician: Your technician will have experience with most brands and models and will be able to tell you which tend to perform best in his or her experience. The more experienced a tech is, the more valuable their insights. In part, that is because they will eventually start dealing with replacing units that they installed themselves.
  • Look at the warranty: Warranties can tell you a lot about when the manufacturer themselves expects the unit to start facing issues. Longer warranties are, of course, better.

Consider Your Climate and Usage

You may read some advice online that furnaces might only last ten years. That advice is usually meant for those in colder climates. Here in most areas of California, we just don’t use our furnaces as often as those in places that get tons of snow. This means that our furnaces tend to last longer.

Maintenance is Most Important

Just because you don’t use your furnace as often as people who live in cold climates does not mean you can skimp on maintenance and expect the furnace to have a long service life. Maintenance is absolutely essential for you to get the most lifespan out of your furnace and is even necessary for some warranty coverage.

The Impact of Damage and Other Issues

Don’t forget that exposure to sources of damage, like leaks, high humidity, floods and more, can also shorten the lifespan of your furnace.