Furnaces are designed to last a long time however 50% of heating repairs are because of a lack of maintenance. For gas furnaces, you can expect a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. For electric furnaces, you can expect them to last 20 to 30 years. In fact, if you talk to HVAC professionals and ask them for the main cause of heating repairs, most of them will give you the same answer.
The best way to avoid a broken heater is to have it maintained regularly. Having a HVAC professional check your heating system at the beginning of each cold season helps you avoid problems later that season. During routine maintenance, your HVAC professional gives your furnace a complete inspection. They clean and lubricate moving parts, remove dust and debris from your furnace, replace the heater, check on all of the electrical components, check your ducts for any leaks, check to make sure your pilot light is burning correctly, and check to make sure that there are no carbon monoxide leaks. During this inspection, your HVAC professional will also look for any worn or damaged parts. They will recommend repair or replacement, to help you avoid problems later in the season.
If you have had your furnace properly maintained, you still want to be on the lookout for furnace trouble. If you notice any of the following problems, call an HVAC company for service. Having your system checked as soon as you notice a problem can help you avoid bigger problems later down the line.
Strange noises. All heating systems make noises, but if you hear unusual squealing, grinding, or other noises it could indicate a serious problem. You may have a problem with a belt or the blower, and letting it go could mean total system failure.
Loss of heat. Many times, your furnace will start to fail slowly. If you are noticing that your furnace is not heating air as much as it used to or that your blower is not blowing as much air as it once did, have it examined by an HVAC professional.
Pilot light not staying lit. If your pilot light will not stay lit, it can be a sign that you have a problem with your fuel source. That can mean a potential for carbon monoxide in your home. That is a serious problem, as carbon monoxide can make you sick or even be lethal. If your pilot light will not stay lit, do not keep trying to light it. Instead, call an HVAC company to have it inspected ASAP.