This is a really common question, along with ďWhen will I know when itís time to replace it?Ē

I read once that the average life expectancy of a furnace is 21 years, and is 11 years for an A/C system.But these statistics were from a national study.This will obviously be a climate based scenario.

There are numerous issues involved, like how often it gets serviced, what the thermostat setting preference is, how often the air filter gets changed, what kind of filters are used, rental property, etc.

I repaired a 1939 furnace this winter (70 years old).(The furnace, not me).It was the first time Iíd ever laid eyes on it.And I spent some extra time inspecting it before deciding whether it was worth repairing.Admittedly, I had some big reservations about how this was going to turn out as soon as I saw it.But to my amazement, it was rock solid.This was a rental property, and the landlord wasnít about to have it replaced unless I pronounced it dead and gone.But it wasnít.And I saw no signs that it would meet its demise very soon.So you canít judge a book by looking at the cover.It began to occur to me that if someone had replaced the furnace in that house every 21 years, this one would have been gone in 1960, the next one in 1981, the next one in 2002.So Iíd be looking at the fourth furnace.Thatís something to think about.

But the flip side of the coin is that Iíve given the last rites to a lot of very young systems.Usually these were systems that were improperly installed and/or maintained.But freak things can happen that are sometimes beyond your control, especially with air conditioners.Power surges during a storm can totally destroy them in a heartbeat.And one minor problem can cause a more serious one that seals the fate of the system.

So itís not unlike us as humans.You canít ignore ďthe oddsĒ.They must be factored into any estimates you make.

But the most important factor by far is the present condition of the equipment.


So I often get asked the question ďWill it get me through this year?Ē.


Letís think about that.Obviously each year the system is around, it statistically has less years of its lifespan left.Letís say that the system has already met and surpassed the ďaverage life expectancyĒ.This is not totally unlike an elderly patient asking the doctor if theyíll be seeing them again for the next annual checkup if you go by statistics alone and donít factor in the present condition of the patient.


The only honest answer a good technician can give is that itís impossible to predict with any degree of accuracy.


But I can say with little reservation that the systems being made today wonít last as long as the old ones did.The constant push for higher efficiency comes with a price.And system longevity just isnít factored in.It doesnít fit in that equation, nor does the push to keep the equipment prices down either.Older equipment Ė furnaces and A/C units are much more tolerant to adverse conditions than the newer counterparts.Thatís why so many really old ones are still out there.The newer equipment must be properly installed and maintained or they will achieve much less reliability, longevity and energy efficiency.


Most folks are surprised to learn that the average new furnace is only rated to be 13%-15% more energy efficient than their older existing furnace.And in many cases, itís the same efficiency (78%-80% efficient).So why buy a new one unless you have to?Each additional year you get out of it would be another year into the shorter lifespan of a new furnace if you replace it now and donít need to.


Regular maintenance performed by a conscientious, experienced technician (not a trainee hired to merely do maintenance) can make your old system operate more efficiency, reliably and last a lot longer than you can imagine.



Areas Served

Greater Kansas City including:

Johnson County, Kansas     Kansas City, Kansas       Kansas City, Missouri

Fairway, KS

Lake Quivira, KS

Leawood, KS

Lenexa, KS

Merriam, KS

Mission, KS

Mission Hills, KS

Mission Woods, KS

Olathe, KS

Overland Park, KS

Prairie Village, KS

Roeland Park, KS

Shawnee, KS

Spring Hill, KS

Stanley, KS

Stilwell, KS

Westwood, KS

Westwood Hills, KS


Copyright 2010 Leonard Arenson Heating & A/C


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