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What Is a Furnace Used For?

Heat your home with a furnace

Yes, winter is ending, but that doesn’t mean any problems you had with your home furnace will go away. If your gas furnace is not working now, it won’t be when next winter arrives either. Did you have several service calls this past winter for your home furnace? Maybe those calls are getting to where they cost more than a new home furnace?  Just How long does a furnace last?

inside a furnanceAnything and everything has a life expectancy and when it is an expensive or important component to your car or home, you want to extend its lifespan, like your home furnace. The expected lifespan of your home furnace depends on several factors. On average, a well-maintained home furnace can have a life expectancy of up to thirty years, rarely you’ll find one that will last 40 years. Most homes will get 15 years out of theirs. Some of the factors that can determine the lifespan of a home furnace are: 

  • Make and model – a newer system will last longer simply because home furnaces are manufactured better.
  • Maintenance – how frequent you perform homeowner’s maintenance and how often you have professional maintenance can extend the lifespan of a home heater. It is important to follow the manufacturer guidelines that will keep a warranty valid and extend the lifespan too. Keeping it clean and scheduling a professional maintenance once a year in the fall is recommended by professionals.
  • Moisture and Ventilation – Without proper ventilation, your home furnace will build up too much moisture, causing components to rust and lead to frequent breakdowns.
  • Original Installation – More than half of home furnaces are installed incorrectly according to Energy Star, resulting in reduced efficiency levels and premature breakdowns, and comfort problem, dehumidification, and insufficient air distribution. The day your home furnace is installed can be the biggest factor in how long of a life it will have. Therefore, it is so important to have an experienced contractor that is authorized by the brand of home furnace you choose to install the unit.

How efficient is my old furnace?

A home furnace efficiency will depend on the factors we listed above. They measure it in annual fuel utilization efficiency, (AFUE), which determines how efficient a furnace is when converting fuel to heat. A home furnace that are twenty years old has an AFUE rating of approximately sixty percent. That means you’re losing as much as forty percent of heat, and the older that unit gets, the more you’ll lose. Even with perfect maintenance, a home furnace will wear out. 

Should I replace my 30 year old furnace?

As we’ve covered already, there are several factors that play a role in the life expectancy of a home furnace. So, there is no official cut-off when you need to do this, but one basic rule that applies to many expensive components in a home is: Compare another repairing cost to replacement cost. If the repair cost is fifty percent or more than a replacement, it is time to replace your home furnace.

A home furnace that is older than fifteen years probably will cost you more to operate (energy costs) than a new home furnace. If that same unit has been giving you problems, like your gas furnace is leaking water, or other costly repairs, then yes, you should it. 

This is another reason why you need to work with a home furnace contractor that has experience and strong reputation. They can advise you on the cost of repairing your unit over and over versus replacing it and how much you’ll save with over time with your energy bills. 

How can I heat my house without a furnace?

There are ways to keep you home comfortable on a cool day, but during a harsh winter, a home furnace will feel pretty good! However, things happen, furnaces go out and you can’t get a repair technician for a day or two, the following tricks can help keep your home comfortable to a certain extent: 

  • Stop Drafts – Replace door seals, replace window caulking, insert electrical receptacle insulation on exterior walls, and use draft snakes along the bottom of exterior doors. 
  • Cover Floors – If you don’t have carpeting, buy area rugs for every room, runners in the hallways, and small rugs at each exterior door.
  • Insulated Drapery – Hanging heavy curtains can keep twenty-five percent of the heat in your home. Insulated curtains will keep even more heat in.
  • Warm Colors – Decorate the interior with warm colors like brown, dark greens, orange, reds, rust, yellow will make a room feel ten degrees warmer.
  • Textures – Textured fabric like chenille, corduroy, and velvet are warmer than cotton, leather, or satin. Throw blankets made of fake fur or knits to help keep warm.
  • Layered Clothing – Layers of clothes will always keep you warm and you can peel one at a time off as you heat up. Slippers that are fleece or fur-lined will keep your feet warm and fleece sweatpants are warmer than denim.
  • Space Heaters – There are three distinct types of space heaters: ceramic, oil, and radiant. Ceramic heats a larger area while a radiant heater will keep you toasty warm in your rocking chair. Oil heaters are more expensive but heat the most space at a time. Today’s oil heaters do not need oil added to them, the oil is internal now.
  • Ceiling Fans – You can change the direction a ceiling fan is blowing, and it will keep warm air down where you need it instead of up at the ceiling.  In the summer, reverse that direction to pull the heat out of the room.
  • Candles – A candle puts off more heat than you may realize. You want to be extremely careful of how many you have burning and where they are located.

furnaceCan a furnace explode?

Yes, but it is very unlikely that it will happen, especially if you have kept it clean and performed the regular maintenance.  The major danger of home fires comes from candles and space heaters. The home furnace of today is safer than ever, and the safety standards today are higher than ever.

So, what are some reasons to replace your home furnace?

  • Your home furnace is 15 years old or older.
  • Your energy bills are increasing steadily.
  • Your repair costs are half as much as a new home furnace.
  • The temperature varies greatly between rooms.
  • The registers have soot around them.
  • Your home furnace is getting extra noisy.

After reading this piece, if you have decided it is time to replace your home furnace, there are many types on the market today.  A gas furnace with a humidifier will provide your family with proper moisture distribution throughout your home, eliminating that awful dry winter air that aggravates allergies and irritates the skin. If you aren’t sure which is better, gas furnace versus electric furnace, the first thing that determines which to get is the set up in your home.  You may not have any choice between which one to get, but if you do, factors to consider: When it comes to efficiency, an electric furnace is better. When it comes to quicker heating, gas is better. Need furnace service in Mansfield and Arlington, TX? Dial (817) 398-8887 today!


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