Why it is important to consider replacing your 20+ year old furnace


Why it is important to consider replacing your 20+ year old furnace

Among the best strategies to prevent dangerous heating emergencies and exorbitant energy bills is replacing aging heating equipment before it fails outright. If your current furnace has already supplied over two decades of service, now is an excellent time to install a new one. Replacing a furnace that’s 20 years old or older can save you money, limit your stress, and keep your living space warm, safe, and comfortable all winter long. Read on to find out why.

Declining Furnace Efficiency

All furnaces come with annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings, which denote how much of the fuel consumed is converted into heat energy. For example, a furnace with an 85% AFUE rating converts 85% of the gas or heating oil it burns into heat, while the rest is lost as exhaust gases. However, new furnaces only operate at their stated levels of efficiency for limited periods. As residential heating equipment sustains ongoing, cumulative wear, it becomes progressively less efficient. Some HVAC equipment loses nearly half of its efficiency after just ten years of service. Not only are age-related efficiency losses costly for consumers, but they’re also taxing on the natural environment. When fuel-combustion appliances lose efficiency, they produce more harmful emissions during operation even as they use more fuel and produce less heat.


Missing Out on Modern Innovations

Over the last several decades, the heating and cooling industry has seen significant advancements. Furnaces can now be seamlessly integrated with home automation systems, and many come with multiple smart features. You can choose from highly efficient hybrid models that include both fuel-burning furnaces and electric heat pumps, high-efficiency furnaces with two heat exchangers and AFUE ratings of up to 98.5%, units with enhanced safety features, and furnaces with variable speed fans. Although your 20-year-old furnace might continue heating your home, it cannot necessarily do so effectively or efficiently. You’re missing out on the enhanced convenience of remote monitoring and management, cleaner indoor air, and much more. Taking advantage of modern innovations in heating equipment isn’t just about making your life easier and your overhead costs lower; it’s also about keeping your property on par with current market standards. If you ever decide to sell or refinance your home, having smart, modern, and highly efficient heating equipment can significantly affect your home’s resale value and marketability.

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Improved Indoor Air Quality

All residential heaters require regular filter changes and annual maintenance from licensed HVAC companies. These efforts keep furnaces running as they should and promote higher indoor air quality (IAQ). However, aging furnaces can still harbor a fair amount of trapped debris. Over the years, these tacky, stubborn build-ups have had an increasing effect on the health of conditioned air. With a new furnace, you might find that you and other building residents sneeze less, deal with less nasal and sinus irritation, sleep better, and enjoy your home more.

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Reduced Risk of Regular Problems

HVAC equipment tends to experience the most problems during the last two years of its service life. Enjoying 20 years of relatively problem-free furnace operation doesn’t mean the road ahead will be easy. You could find yourself paying for major fixes frequently. Installing a new furnace now will spare you the effects of dangerous, mid-season breakdowns and free up more cash for other home repairs or improvements.

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Expired Warranty Protections

Most furnace manufacturers issue limited parts warranties that last between five and ten years, with some offering up to 20-year heat exchanger warranties. Once your furnace’s warranty has expired, you’ll have to contend with recurring problems and regular out-of-pocket spending. Replacing your furnace is often more cost-effective than constantly paying for repairs without warranty protections.

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Prevent Heating Emergencies and Plumbing Damage

When thinking about heating emergencies, people often consider intolerably cold indoor conditions and temperature-related health issues. However, if the interior of your home gets too cold, you could also face frozen and ruptured pipes. Having your heating system fail when the outside temperature is below freezing can lead to thousands of dollars in urgent plumbing repairs. Replacing your aging furnace before it reaches the end of its lifespan is far cheaper.

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Streamline Your HVAC System

If you’re interested in zoning your home for customized comfort and efficiency, starting with new heating equipment is best. New furnaces are more compatible with advanced zone control systems and smart thermostats. You’ll get better performance, greater added value, and a more flexible range of options for temperature control and energy management.

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Eliminate Hot and Cold Spots

Central heating systems create a uniform temperature throughout entire buildings. As they age, they lose this ability. If you have areas of your home that never get quite warm enough, replacing your furnace could be the key to eliminating hot and cold spots.

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Enjoy Quieter Operation

Older furnaces are often noisy. If your furnace regularly wakes you up at night, interrupts conversations, or makes it difficult to hear the TV, replacing it could make a significant difference. Modern furnaces offer whisper-quiet operation, vastly improving both efficiency and comfort.


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Recognize Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Furnace

Be attentive to signs like unusual noises, inconsistent temperatures, unusual odors, increasing energy bills, and frequent repairs. If your furnace is between 16-20 years old, it’s time to consider shopping for a replacement. Proactively replacing your furnace as a planned improvement rather than during an emergency allows for better decision-making.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Furnace

Ensuring your furnace operates efficiently for as long as possible requires more than just regular maintenance. Homeowners can take several DIY steps, such as regularly replacing or cleaning filters, keeping the home and vents clean, inspecting and cleaning the combustion chamber and blower, checking and cleaning air ducts, ensuring proper insulation, using a programmable thermostat, scheduling professional maintenance, and being proactive with repairs.

The Lifespan of a Gas Furnace

In the diverse climate of the United States, gas furnaces typically last about 15 to 20 years, depending on several factors such as frequency of use, unit quality, regular maintenance, and model efficiency. Technological advancements and changes in energy standards also play a role in determining the longevity and cost-effectiveness of older furnaces.

Signs of an Aging Gas Furnace

Being able to identify signs of an aging furnace is critical. Look out for rising energy costs, constant repairs, inconsistent heating, unusual noises, and deteriorating air quality.

Advancements in Modern Gas Furnaces

The last two decades have brought remarkable advancements in gas furnace technology. Modern furnaces boast higher energy efficiency, modulating furnaces for steadier heat distribution, integration with smart home systems, advanced filtration systems, environmentally friendly features, quiet operation, and increased durability with reduced maintenance needs.

By recognizing the benefits and advancements of modern heating systems, homeowners can make informed decisions about replacing their aging furnaces, ensuring optimal comfort, efficiency, and safety in their homes.



Replacing a 20+ year old furnace can save you money, improve comfort, enhance air quality, and provide peace of mind. With modern advancements and better efficiency, a new furnace is a wise investment for your home’s future. Our team at Total Line is here to help you make the best choice for your heating needs.

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