How long does a furnace last in Arizona?

Even with Phoenix’s typically mild winters, there are still plenty of chilly nights that could have you turning up the heat. If your home has a gas or electric furnace, you can expect your system to last for 17-20 years. However, there are several factors that can shorten, or lengthen, your furnace’s lifespan. Here’s what you need to know to help keep your home toasty and comfortable for many winters to come.

Factors that can shorten the lifespan of your furnace

Nobody wants to replace their furnace early, but certain factors can majorly shorten your system’s lifespan. A poor installation, improper sizing, and lack of maintenance can lead your furnace to an early replacement.

Poor quality installation

Without you even knowing it, your furnace may be set up for a short lifespan from the beginning. A furnace that wasn’t installed properly to begin with will likely encounter problems that lead to a premature demise. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced HVAC professional when it comes time to install a new furnace. A poor quality installation will likely have:

  • Poor ductwork
  • Poorly designed exhaust systems
  • Incorrectly designed drainage systems
  • Poor air distribution

Improper sizing

A furnace that’s too big will work too hard to heat your home, leading to issues like short cycling, or turning on and off frequently. You’ll also end up paying more per month on your utility bills than you would with a furnace that’s properly sized. On the other side of the coin, a furnace that’s too small won’t be able to keep up with demand. Ensuring that your furnace is properly sized is key.

Lack of maintenance or repairs

Lack of maintenance can accelerate wear and tear and lead to your furnace breaking down years before it should. You wouldn’t drive your car for years without an oil change, and you shouldn’t run your furnace for years without regular tune-ups. Before you fire up your heater for the first time in the winter, it’s important to have it inspected by a professional.

How to extend the life of your furnace: Regular maintenance

Regular maintenance is the best (and easiest) way to extend the life of your furnace. Unlike air conditioners, heaters are left untouched for most of the year. This long dormancy period can lead to issues such as cracks, dust buildup, and damage from the elements. If unchecked, these issues can lead to everything from expensive repairs and annoying breakdowns to dangerous health complications from carbon monoxide.

An HVAC professional should be the one to deal with all the nuts and bolts, but you can do your part with simple maintenance tasks as well. Keeping your vents and blower clean and regularly changing your filters can go a long way towards extending the life of your furnace.

At Chas Roberts, we inspect your system inside and out to make sure no component is overlooked. Our experienced technicians work hard to ensure that your furnace is ready for chilly winter nights. Here are five things you can expect from the Chas Roberts 26-point maintenance plan.

Thermostat calibration

The standard deviation between actual indoor temperature and what your thermostat displays is two degrees. If the difference is higher, it’s best to either have the thermostat re-calibrated or replaced altogether if re-calibration doesn’t solve the problem.  Manual thermostats always have to be replaced if they become uncalibrated. However, programmable thermostats can be re-calibrated by an HVAC professional.

Burner flames inspection

If you have a gas heater, the technician will take some time to inspect the heater’s burner flames. Burner flames should be bright, even, and blue. Blue flames are optimal because they’re hotter than yellow flames, indicating that your heater is working efficiently and is not wasting gas. Yellow flames should be considered a warning sign that could point to dirty burners, combustion problems, or an excess of oxygen.

Heat exchanger inspection

Heat exchangers can develop cracks that could allow carbon monoxide to enter your home and endanger you and your family. During an inspection, the technician will thoroughly check for obvious issues like cracks and other damage. If cracks are present, replacing your heat exchanger should immediately jump to the top of your “to-do” list. Since exposure to carbon monoxide is life-threatening, it’s important to have your heat exchanger replaced as soon as possible to minimize the risk.

Combustion air check

The air that a gas heater needs in order to burn safely is called combustion air. Without an adequate supply of combustion air, the heater won’t be able to function properly. During a maintenance inspection, the technician will ensure that your heater is getting enough combustion air, and that the air pressure is appropriate.

Troubleshooting common furnace problems

Throughout your furnace’s life, you may encounter some issues along the way. Whether you have a gas or electric furnace, here are troubleshooting tips you can use to get to the bottom of common problems.

Pilot light won’t turn on

Older furnace models use a standing pilot light for power, while newer models use electronic ignition. A pilot light ignites the gas, which heats the air in the combustion chamber. If the pilot light fails, the furnace won’t turn on. If your furnace’s pilot light won’t turn on, it’s possible to relight it on your own. However, if you feel unsafe doing so, we recommend calling a Chas Roberts professional.

Electric furnace ignition issues

Electric furnace systems are more energy-efficient than older standing pilot designs, but they’re not without problems. If your electric furnace isn’t working, the causes could include:

  • Old igniter
  • Overpowered current
  • Malfunctioning temperature limiting switch

Furnace makes noise

Modern furnaces are designed with noise reduction in mind. Aside from startup noises like a brief bump or clank, you shouldn’t notice many loud or annoying sounds coming from your furnace. Any of the following noises should be considered signs of a larger problem.

  • High-pitched squealing noises
  • Scraping noises
  • Pops and bangs
  • Buzzing or humming

Furnace problems? Trust Chas Roberts

When your furnace isn’t working as it should, trust Chas Roberts to make things right. Our experts will go the extra mile to ensure that your family is safe, comfortable, and warm all winter long. Contact us to experience superior service every step of the way.