A: A furnace should last forever—that would be ideal, cost-wise right? Unfortunately, machines don’t and one of the most common misconceptions, in Houston especially is, “My system is out and I know I need to replace the air conditioner. I want to keep the furnace though because I don’t really use it.”
Well, that’s not true. Out of the three main components of your system, which are the condenser outside, the evaporator coil in the attic, and your furnace—the furnace runs year-round. The furnace houses the blower assembly. It moves air whether you’re heating or cooling so that motor has been running year-round.
So, if you have a system that’s older and the compressor goes out and you need to replace the unit—replace your furnace too. It’s going to help the efficiency of the new system and— it’s peace of mind. It’s a shame to spend a lot of money on a new condenser and coil and then a few months later the furnace goes out. Then you’re back to spending money again—so, there’s savings when you do it all together at the same time.
Also, you can achieve higher efficiency by replacing the furnace with a new motor and newer technology. So, I would say every 10-15 years, time for a new furnace.
Why Do I Need A Furnace In Houston?
On the surface, if you don’t know anything about HVAC, you might think that a furnace is not a priority in Houston. It rarely dips down to extreme cold temperatures—last year was a freak of nature, so why a furnace?
Well, as Servando mentioned, the furnace, in Houston as well, is a foundational component of any HVAC system. It not only provides heat when it does get cold enough to justify it, but it houses the blower too. This simple fact is often overlooked—until your blower goes out because of a furnace failure in the middle of July.
Now, in somewhere like Michigan, that might not be all that unbearable. However, when a furnace in Houston goes out at the peak of summer—that’s borderline torture. Why is this an issue if the unit outside is what makes the cool air?
Well, without some way to move that cool air through your ducts—your house will stay hot. It doesn’t matter how advanced your system is—furnace failure is huge. It cripples your system making it virtually useless.
Because most Houston homeowners don’t realize how critical a furnace is, they often neglect it. They don’t even know how old it is most of the time. When it comes time to do maintenance and a tech suggests replacing the furnace, they brush it off. However, this could set you up for major repairs that can be costly but don’t have to be. You need to know the signs of a failing furnace before it becomes a failed one.
Shouldn’t A Furnace In Houston Last Longer?
There is a common misconception that a furnace doesn’t work as hard in a warm climate like Houston. People assume that because it rarely gets cold, a furnace is rarely getting a workout, but it is actually used every day.
Our climate is quite humid so even on cool spring or fall days when the temperatures are in the low 70s—the humidity is a pain. Let’s not even talk about the humidity when it’s the middle of summer—unbearable!
Since the furnace houses the blower, your furnace is constantly running. Whether it’s to aid in dehumidification, cooling, or simply circulating the indoor air—it’s working. The average furnace will usually last about 10-15 years given proper maintenance before it starts degrading in performance.
The degradation is not a defect, it’s natural wear and tear from the components that comprise your furnace. There’s a lot of moving parts that create a lot of friction as well. Now, that doesn’t mean that because a furnace is 10-15 yrs old you should immediately replace it.
It just means you should prepare to eventually decide between wasting money on repairs or replacing it. Often, when a unit is that old, it can make more sense financially to invest in a new furnace versus investing in the old one.
You could easily spend $600 on furnace repairs in Houston but then again, it could fail two months later. Furthermore, consider how much you can save with a more efficient unit with a brand-new warranty. But, what if you’re not sure how old your furnace is—like when you buy a home with a system already?
You can find the serial number on the inside of the cover and contact us with that number—we can get the manufacture date for you.
What Does Your Furnace’s Age Tell You?
The age of your furnace is a critical factor in making a judgment call when dealing with any issues you run into. However, even though age can tell you a lot about your system, it is not the end-all-be-all factor.
For example, a 20-year-old, top-of-the-line furnace that’s maintained properly may still run like a beast for years to come. However, any level system that’s poorly maintained and neglected could bite the dust after just a decade.
It just goes to show you how important it is to take good care of your investment and maintain it regularly. It could make the difference between 10 years of use, and 20 years of use—you want maximum return on your investment.
So, no matter the age of your system, you need to have it serviced regularly by one of our professional techs. This will help you keep an idea of what condition your furnace is in and discover developing issues. Often, small issues that go undetected turn into major failures when they could’ve been simply repaired.
With our MVP program, for example, your entire system will be checked regularly including your furnace. It includes cleaning the fan, the vents, and lubricating key components to reduce friction.
Signs That Indicate Impending Failure
Suddenly losing your furnace and being told it needs to be replaced after shutting down is a real downer. In fact, it can cause a huge disruption in your budget and your daily life. However, if you keep an eye on your system performance it will give you warnings. Look for these common indicators that tell you your furnace is nearing the end:
- A sharp jump in your energy bill
- Heating unevenly
- Poor air quality
- Minor repairs are more frequent
My Furnace Needs To Be Replaced—What Do I Do Next?
If you’ve had your furnace checked out, repaired, and it still doesn’t work efficiently—you know it’s time to let go. But what do you do to start the process? Where do you go? Furthermore, how do you know which brand to buy that’s comparable?
Well, the good news is, if you were happy with your old system and it just got old—you can usually get its replacement. You’ll get the same level of quality and reliability but with modern components and technology.
However, if you weren’t happy with the furnace you had before, many brands are quite reputable. Our personal favorite is Lennox—their systems consistently outperform their price point, and they are simply workhorses. With any brand furnace, buying a new one does come with a significant upfront cost. However the impact of that is easily offset with special financing, and modern efficiencies older models just don’t have.
Modern models, for example, come with an annualized fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating which indicates the efficiency of the unit. Modern furnaces, even entry-level models are naturally going to be more efficient than their older counterparts. Technology moves forward not backward, so keep that in mind.
Need A New Furnace In Houston?
If your furnace has lost its effectiveness, needs frequent repairs, or has bit the dust—call AIRTEAM. Our comfort consultants can help you make an educated decision on a new furnace. They’ll take into consideration all the factors you may have not thought about.
This is our job, we do this every day— so contact us today and let us get you the best unit for your home and budget.